Apple just acquired a podcast search engine

According to this morning's edition of NiemanLab's Hot Pod newsletter, Apple has officially acquired Oakland-based Pop Up Archive, a small startup that created a bevy of tools that allow users to search, transcribe, sort, and categorize audio files. Included in the suite is, a full-text search engine that uses speech-to-text technology to do a contextual search within podcasts and radio.

Though it seems pretty clear why this sort of technology would be hugely useful to Apple, the company that manages between 50 and 70 percent of all podcast downloads, the statement from the company to the press was notably curt and cryptic:

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.

Pop Up Archive was founded back in 2012, and has since then grown fairly quietly with monetary help from organizations like Bloomberg Beta, 500 Startups, and the Knight Foundation. The company officially shut down operations and ended support on November 28 of this year according to its website, likely in preparation for the acquisition.

Hopefully, Pop Up Archive's tools will go toward further expanding Apple Podcasts' search capabilities, allowing users to find content more specifically tailored to their individual interests and needs. It would also go a long way toward making recommendations within the Podcasts app more effective, as right now Apple's podcast recs are limited to similar shows in the broad sense and not necessarily shows that are alike in more distinct, content-based respects. If they're implemented successfully, all these small changes could combine to drive huge improvements within the Apple Podcasts realm.


How do you feel about Apple's acquisition of Pop Up Archive? Give us a shout in the comments!

Tory Foulk

Tory Foulk is a writer at Mobile Nations. She lives at the intersection of technology and sorcery and enjoys radio, bees, and houses in small towns. When she isn't working on articles, you'll likely find her listening to her favorite podcasts in a carefully curated blanket nest. You can follow her on Twitter at @tsfoulk.