App of the Week – Hound

Published on June 22, 2016

Have you ever found yourself getting frustrated with Siri or Google Now? Then SoundHound’s new Hound app may be for you.

Launched back in March of this year, Hound is a voice search and personal assistant app that boasts fast speeds and promises to let users “speak naturally,” without needing to learn any “special keyword phrases.”

Instead, after bringing up Hound manually or via voice command (“OK Hound”), the app relies on what SoundHound calls “Speech-to-Meaning” capability. We’ll let Matthew Lynley at TechCrunch describe it in more depth:

“…Apple and Google first translate voice to text, and then run that text against an engine that attempts to generate the meaning for the text. Hound brings the meaning translation component of it closer to the voice transcription, attempting to determine what the user is asking faster… The result is that the response will hopefully be quicker and more accurate than a tool like Siri…”

In addition, the technology allows for more conversational interaction with the app, including the use of highly specific details (i.e., “show me Chinese restaurants in Chicago with dumplings for less than $10”) and even follow-up questions (“only show me restaurants that are open now”). Hound’s compatibility with SoundHound, the company’s core tech, a song/sound identification app, also means that Hound can take the place of Shazam, allowing users to so much as “simply hum songs” into the app to figure out a tune with “reasonable accuracy,” according to TechCrunch.

Even better? Hound is currently compatible with Uber, and its accessible Houndify platform may mean that plenty of other popular apps will soon be featuring Hound’s advanced capacity for speech recognition, natural language, and context.

Ready to give this powerful Siri-alternative a try? Hound is available as a free download for iOS and Android devices.

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