SoundHound's Hound Personal Assistant Leaves Beta, Open to All

SoundHound's Hound Personal Assistant Leaves Beta, Open to All

Watch out, Siri. There's a younger, faster voice assistant in town that promises to be smarter than Apple's built-in aide.

Now Hound is out of beta and available for download for iOS and Android devices.

There is another digital voice assistant entering the scene that will give Siri, Cortana and Google Now a run for their money. The Houndify platform is a key component of the app and SoundHound said that the chances of being misunderstood are much reduced.

As well as stock price, flight status, date, time, alarm and timer requests, users can also activate a Shazam-style music recognition feature called "SoundHound Now", which also responds to sung and hummed queries. Users prompt Hound by saying, "OK, Hound..." to start a query.

Some of the things you can search for using Hound include the weather and temperature in a given location or time, local restaurants and stores using Yelp, navigation, directions, search, Expedia booking, and Uber.

It supports natural language questions rather than specific keywords.

Natural language - Unlike other voice services that require the user to learn and use particular words or phrases, Hound takes the opposite approach and works with how a user speaks normally.

"We believe that using voice to interface with devices will become a widespread user behavior if it is fast and delightful", said Keyvan Mohajer, SoundHound Inc.'s Founder and CEO. He noted that with the introduction of Siri, Apple created a growth opportunity for itself as well as for the entire audio-recognition industry. It's these contextual responses (with surprisingly accurate details mind you) which could make Hound a viable option for some users as opposed to Google Now's baked in functionality, or perhaps as an addition to what Google Now offers. However, one big obstacle that's in its way is that it's not built into iOS or Android like Siri and Google Now. "However, this space is still so new that virtual assistant apps will increase in the marketplace as well". When a song was played, people tapped the app, held it in front of a speaker and it told you what the song was and the artist who sung it-an important part of ongoing music discovery.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Mohajer said that SoundHound had been working on this technology since 2000.

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