For many Internet users, Pandora's streaming radio was the first taste of algorithmic recommendation modules that suited the listener. Pandora has a lot of competition in the meantime, but it is spreading into a new area: podcasts.
Starting today, some Pandora beta users have personalized recommendations for podcasts based on the podcast genome project. This is an extension of the original Music Genome project, the proprietary engine that drives Pandora's recommendation engine by finding common elements in the music that a single user likes. Podcasts are generally spoken words and much longer than individual songs. Therefore, they can not be quantified in the same mathematical way as music. The principle of recommending content based on things that users like or dislike (the familiar "thumbs up / thumbs down" approach) is solid. Um, no pun intended.
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Pandora accepts early applications at this link. The press release states that the full podcast functionality will be widely used in the coming weeks. Podcasting is currently only available in the mobile app.