Hound, as its app is called, is a voice-powered digital assistant.
What sets Hound apart is that it’s faster and more capable than anything you’ve ever tried before.
The company behind Hound, Soundhound, launched the app in beta for Android users last summer, and it’s spent the last eight months improving the service with the help of about 150,000 testers.
The company is also launching partnerships with Yelp and Uber today to let Hound users get restaurant information and hail a ride from within the app.
Hound is the first digital assistant that feels like a real step forward.
Hound is the first digital assistant that feels like a real step toward the future, albeit a handicapped one at the moment.
Although the company has added 3D Touch support to its iOS version so you can jump right into a query and a “Ok Hound” voice command to make hands-free requests.
Ask Hound to find you a coffee shop within walking distance that has free Wi-Fi, and you can then tell it to exclude Starbucks to narrow the search.
When combined with advances in machine learning and other artificial technology techniques, Hound is able to do what Mohajer, CEO of Soundhound, calls “Speech-to-meaning.” While other digital assistant software translates what you speak into text and tries to figure out what you said, Hound supposedly skips that step and deciphers your speech as it hears it.
The goal will be for Hound to avoid doing that so often that you ditch using the app altogether.
There will always be things Hound can’t do because it doesn’t have direct access to your phone’s software, like Apple, or intimate knowledge of your search history and email, like Google.
There’s a weather domain, a hotels domain provided by Expedia, and a phone domain that each let Hound take your question or request and execute it.
“I use Google Maps on iOS instead of Apple Maps, even though Apple Maps is more integrated,” Mohajer told The Verge when Hound first launched in beta.