Google Labs has released Listen, an application for smartphones powered by the Google Android mobile operating system that lets users search for and stream or download podcasts and other Web audio content.
Users can go to Google's Android Market from their T-Mobile G1, myTouch3G or whatever Android device they're using, and search for and install "Listen."
To find content, hit "Popular searches" from the home screen to see the freshest audio searches fellow searchers are making. The FAQ explains how users can tap selections to play, queue for later or subscribe to.
Google Research scientists Bill Schilit and Sam Roweis said in a blog post that Listen "helps organize the world of audio information and makes it easily accessible anytime, anywhere."
Essentially, they are saying Listen aims to do for podcasts what Google search aims to do for the world.
Schilit and Roweis say Googlers use Listen as a "personal audio-magazine" while exercising, commuting, gardening, cleaning, dressing, cooking and doing other stuff.
Googlers are expected to try their colleagues' dog food, but are people still listening to podcasts?
I seem to remember something about podcasting becoming somewhat unpopular with the rise of YouTube and other user-generated video content. Sure, Listen is meant to be listened to, not viewed (for now), but if that's the case, wouldn't you just strap on your iPod to listen to while you work out?
Bluetooth wireless headsets will work, but Listen isn't available on Apple's iPhone, Palm's Pre or any other smartphones yet. It's also only in English. Read more about Listen on TechMeme here.
Google's Mobile team yesterday also upgraded its mobile image search results for iPhone and Android smartphones, making them available for most other phones in 38 languages.
As you can see above, image results are compressed for tiny third-screens, allowing users to scan eight to 14 images on a single results page.
Clicking an image leads to a details page with a larger thumbnail and the option to see the image in full size or navigate to the Web page where the image is hosted: