SoundHound launches ‘Hound’ voice search app to rival Google Now and Siri

SoundHound Inc., the company behind SoundHound – a music recognition app similar to Shazam – yesterday announced a new voice search and assistant app, dubbed ‘Hound’ that seems to take aim at Google Now, Google Voice Search and Apple’s Siri.

Hound can be used for the usual search topics and tasks such as the weather forecast, placing a phone call, sending a text message, finding a hotel that suits your needs, navigating to an address, checking the stock market, and playing music and games.

According to SoundHound Inc., what sets Hound apart from other voice services is that it combines voice recognition and natural language understanding – technology the company says it has been developing in stealth for the past decade – in real-time to surface more accurate and relevant results.

Traditional voice search relies on keywords to identify what a user is looking for; this is not the case with Hound, claims SoundHound Inc. Hound can understand complex, natural language sentences, including compound criteria, exclusions and negation. This lets users speak naturally and include as much detail in a voice search as they like.

The demo video below shows how, for example, Hound can be used to find a hotel. Hound is activated by saying “OK, Hound” followed by the specific instruction or search criteria. For example, “Show me four or five-star hotels in Seattle for three nights starting on Friday between 150 dollars and 250 dollars a night.” Depending on the results the user can further narrow down their search by adding, for example, “How about with free Wi-Fi and that are not bed and breakfasts?”

Hound also incorporates the music recognition functionality from SoundHound so users can identify songs without leaving the app.

“Hound will redefine the way we interact with devices, information, and services,” said Keyvan Mohajer, founder and CEO, SoundHound Inc. in a statement. “We believe in a world where we speak to the things around us just as we speak to each other, and we have worked tirelessly for nearly a decade to create the technology that realizes this vision.”

Hound for Android is currently in invite-only beta with an iOS version in the works.

Image via SoundHound Inc.

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