Podcast Directory Help: Listening to Podcasts on your PC with Web-based readers

With millions of podcasts ready to be downloaded, the problem of users isn't what to listen to, but how to select and then continue getting updates without having to wade through the bunch all over again. After all, the whole promise of podcasting is information on demand: get what you want, whenever you want it, and through any listening device you may have on hand. That can include the iPod, the PSP, and yes, even the computer.

There are a lot of programs (WIkipedia counts over 130) that can help you simplify the process of finding podcasts. Here we review two of the biggest—and one that requires no installation since they are entirely web-based.

Yahoo Reader

There are already over 25 million people already using My Yahoo to read the news (whether it be the war on terrorism or Britney Spears' latest bar antic). So it makes sense that after years of using news aggregators to get information from all over the web, that it would create a specific one for finding podcasts. Some experts believe, in fact, that Yahoo Reader has one of the best online RSS tools you can find.

One argument for Yahoo Reader is that you get so much more than RSS feeds. Things like stock quotes, which fluctuate nearly every hour, and email alerts. So aside from finding the latest podcasts, you can also find out whether or not you should call your stock brocker within the next 15 minutes, or if your favorite airline has a new travel promo.

You can also fully customize the yahoo page so that you find not just updates on your podcasts but all the information that interests you, from fashion trends to financial forecasts. They call it being “the dashboard to your life”, complete with the option to hang colored dice (or its digital equivalent). After all, My Yahoo lets you customize the page, something you can't find in other software.

Here's another difference: yahoo doesn't clutter the page with full text of items, but shows headlines and summaries so that you can view the whole text.

Google Reader

Who hasn't used Google even once to surf the Internet? It's one of the biggest and most reliable names in the web industry, and its RSS feed reader is also very comprehensive and reliable. Fans praise how it's easy to share and exchange items, or even how—in general—it's just so user-friendly. You find an uncomplicated and uncluttered page that helps you read the feeds without feeling overwhelmed. Clearly, it was made for people who had no time to wade through useless information.

Tools like keyboard shortcuts and the ability to label feeds also make the downloading and updating process very, very easy. You can group items freely (unlike other programs with very rigid filing systems). However, it won't let you annotate your finds or automatically sort them out based on what you did before. And it won't organize your items and put them in context (i.e., grouping related posts). Nevertheless, Google Reader is one of the most flexible programs you can use.