I've lamented, probably to an annoying degree, that Microsoft has routinely dropped the ball when it comes to providing its customers who are looking to use the OS for auditory entertainment an adequate solutions. From shuttering Groove to a continued lack of a first-party solution for podcasting, I've argued that Microsoft is aggressively being ignorant of a small but growing niche of its users who are choosing alternative operating systems to satiate their appetite for music, comedy, spoken word, news, and podcasts.
Fortunately, the internet continues to democratize access to solutions beyond native applications and programs and for anyone using Windows but looking for podcasting solutions beyond the three or four apps in the Windows Store, there is Listen Notes.
"Listen Notes is a podcast search engine. It’s like Google, but for podcasts. Using Listen Notes, you can search almost all the podcast episodes on the Internet by people, places, and topics."
I was introduced to Listen Notes a couple of weeks ago and the first thing I thought about was the flexibility of the service, the second thing was Google/Bing search. Being a web-based search engine for podcasts, it serves as a solution for all Windows users and not just those on Windows 10.
I understand that often times, the barrier to a transition is raised the more people become dependant on operating specific programs and applications, but thanks to Listen Notes being a web service, people can listen to their latest podcast jones. Secondly, the service acts in many ways like a Bing/Google search were a Spartan-like design gives way to a powerful search bar that filters and displays content in an intuitive way.
Also, as Listen Notes serves as mainly a search engine first and podcast app second, finding even the most niche listening experience seemed trivial with the service indexing 300,000 podcast titles and over 24 million episodes. Pretty impressive for work done for a service initially conceived as a prototype and run seemingly by one individual named Wenbin who privately funded the project.
As I've written in the past, I'm looking to shed the process of downloading and installing applications on my device. More importantly, I'm looking to see if I can manage a workflow by only using the web. It's been really tough at times and scarily easy at others, and what I've noticed when using the web for podcasting, every location has a limitation in place due to monetization methods. Some web-based podcast services don't share links to RSS feeds, while others simply lack agreements for content.
Seems as though Wenbin has figured out a happy middle ground that keeps Listen Notes indexing a ton all while sharing links out to services such as iTunes, Facebook, Twitter, and the respective content hosting websites.
Listen Notes also appears to be a responsive website that works on mobile as well, thus obviating the necessity for an additional smartphone-based solution. Listen Notes has a lot going for it and as a customer looking into purchasing a new Surface Laptop, the proposition for Windows 10 S is helped greatly by this new found solution, for me.
Not everything is as rosy in Listen Notes land, as it serves as podcast aggregator first, there appears to be no way to do the basic subscription portion of podcast listening. So, similar to a Bing or Google search, you'll either have to search as often as new episodes are released or pin a limited number of favorites to the taskbar or Start Menu. Another annoyance is the rare hiccup in search results which led to a frustrated afternoon of looking, and not finding, one of my regularly listen to podcasts, Last Podcast on the Left.
Aside from those few quibbles, Listen Notes does most of what I need and has convinced me that the web will ultimately be where Ill call home on any new laptop I purchase.
While a large portion of people are waiting on iTunes to hit the Windows Store before making the leap to Windows 10 or Windows 10 S, I find each passing day developers are adapting to the web in new and creative ways. In its current form, Listen Notes stands as the Google of podcasts and that's a great thing for Windows 10 and 10 S users as Microsoft shifts its focus to filling gaps in its first-party solutions with better served progressive web apps.
Perhaps, down the line, Listen Notes aligns its service model to accompany Windows 10 PWA bridge features that would allow for OS-wide notifications, live tiles, and tablet-mode windowing. In the meantime, I would recommend anyone looking for a podcast solution on Windows 10 to check out Listen Notes and see if it works for your needs.