First, Apple launched support for Podcasts in iTunes. Next, Podshow received funding from KP and Benchmark (with Ray Lane and John Doerr as board members no less). Starting today, Yahoo now offers support for Podcasts. As an entreprenuer, this launch is huge validation for the Podcasting space overall.
The initial launch is short on features in a few areas, but my guess is that the shortcomings of the service will be improved over time. No doubt, Odeo has some new competition.
Directly competing with services like Odeo, Podcast Alley and iTunes itself, Yahoo! Podcasts offers a directory service:
...the free service focuses on making it easier for people to sift through the tens of thousands of podcasts currently available on the Web
The directory search looks like it is including meta data from the RSS Media spec (championed by Yahoo). I can't tell if Yahoo is also working with the iTunes namespace spec, although their RSS example includes it.
Yahoo has also included support for tags and a user rating system. Unlike iTunes, all downloads were pulled from the publisher URL; even very popular shows were not using Akamai.
Yahoo's subscription service functionality is very limited. To actually subscribe to a podcast, they suggest the following:
...you'll need to get some great music software like the Yahoo! Music Engine or Apple iTunes
Overall, the publishing platform lacks many features
The initial rollout does not offer any tools for recording a podcast. Instead, they suggest using applications like Audacity and GarageBand. Odeo should have an edge here, however, they have not released their publishing tool to general availability.
The Yahoo site has no support itself for hosting podcasts.
When your podcast is finished, you need to put it online. If you already have access to a web hosting service, just FTP your podcast there. If you don't have space online to put your podcast, you can use one of many free or paid hosting services. Yahoo! provides some great web hosting options through Yahoo! Geocities. Here is a list of additional hosting options you can choose from
This is an area for Yahoo to enhance -- many publishers are hungry for analytics and reliable bandwidth.
Yahoo has ping support from the start - something that iTunes still has not done and Odeo added after launch.