The AOL podcast search actually searches for instances of words of phrases within podcasts. You know what else? If it finds something for you it will let you play the snippet of the podcast that contains that phrase.
There have been a few fledgling podcast search services so far and at least one of them aimed to search within the podcast as well. As far as I know, though, this is the only service that will also play the snippet for you. Given that some podcasts are pretty long, a search that simply tells you that your word is "in these six podcasts somewhere" isn't that helpful. Being able to immediately listen to the part of the podcast that deals with your search, however, seems quite useful to me.
I understand that this is a complex technology and will take time to develop fully, but it's a critical technology. If podcastst are to become useful as research tools, for example, there has to be a better way to assess their content without investing hours listening to them. There has to be a way to scan them as we do web information.
Hat tip to Easton at Business Blog Wire for the find.