I just noticed that Google is listed as an exhibitor for the upcoming Podcast and New Media Expo. (Yes I have a habit of checking occasionally to see who will be exhibiting.) Interestingly, the page they link to from the exhibitor list is Google Adsense for Audio. The linked page covers their radio product, but I don’t think one has to work to hard to figure out what is coming: Adsense for Podcasts. Now there is nothing new here, people have been speculating and discussing this for a while, but the fact that Google has signed on as an exhibitor at a “Podcast Expo” is a rather definitive statement for their plans.
This does bring up the entire question of what a product like this would look like. I have some thoughts on this as I don’t think it can work the way it does for text. Also the transition from radio to podcasts will be interesting. Radio has established formats and systems that are clearly understood by all. Sending an audio ad to a radio station and having them inject it into their automation program is no big deal. Systems like this do not exist in podcasting. For the most part, everyone is doing their own thing. Will this signal the need for structured production platforms for podcasts? Lots of thoughts and questions, perhaps I should do a podcast about it.