iPhone 4S advert (Siri 001)

Apple’s introduction of Siri back in 2011 was a watershed moment for voice-activated personal digital assistants. Today, a myriad of Siri-like services exist such as Google Now on Android devices and Microsoft’s cross-platform Cortana, which will be hitting iOS soon following Windows 10 debut on July 29.

But many if not all of the existing services, Siri included, could be put to shame by Hound.

Hound is a forthcoming digital assistant which promises a groundbreaking smartphone experience, created by SoundHound, the maker of namesake mobile music and audio recognition service.

“Hound gives you fast and deep results to what you ask for, such as looking up the weather, placing a phone call, sending a text message, finding a hotel that matches your detailed criteria, navigating to an address, checking the stock market, searching and playing music, and even playing interactive games,” the company explains.

The app understands both context and details and lets you follow up to refine your results, or say precisely what you want all at once. It handles complex natural language sentences with ease, including compound criteria, exclusions and negation.

If technology demonstration of Hound for Android beta is anything to go by, the app could bring us a few steps closer toward speaking to our mobile devices like how we speak normally.

It instantly process very long queries, such as “What is the population and capital for Japan and China and their areas in square miles and square kilometers and also tell me how many people live in India and what is the area code for Germany, France and Italy.”

Another example: you can ask Hound to ”Show me pet hotels near the Golden Gate Bridge with 3 or more stars under $200 excluding bed and breakfast”.

Check Hound in action in this YouTube video below, it’ll blow your mind. Note that the demo uses faster text-to-speech pace for demonstrative purposes as it would be daunting to hear the slower responses.

Siri, Cortana, Google Now and other digital assistants are somewhat conversational but Hound’s unprecedented speed and accuracy and its ability to handle context, detailed criteria, is just mind-boggling.

“Hound will redefine the way we interact with devices, information, and services,” said Keyvan Mohajer, founder and CEO, SoundHound Inc.

“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.”

Powered by an in-house technology that takes advantage of SoundHound’s Speech-to-Meaning engine, Hound includes the Houndify platform to help developers add smart, interactive voice interfaces to their own apps.

“Almost anything that is ‘connected’ can become Houndifed,” says the firm.

SoundHound Hound for Android teaser 001

Like Siri, Hound is a mobile voice interface that relies on the cloud for heavy lifting.

“While older voice services use word and phrase detection to generate search results, Hound combines voice recognition and natural language understanding in real-time to deliver the fastest and most accurate results seen on a mobile voice service to-date,” says Wikipedia.

For those wondering, SoundHound is a pioneering company in sound recognition and search technologies. They’ve gone a long way since their humble beginnings in 2005 and now own the technology that turns sound into understanding and actionable meaning.

Hound for Android is in beta and available in the United States only at this time. Hound for the iPhone and iPad is “coming soon,” according to the Hound micro-site where you can also ask for an invite.

If Hound can do all this stuff, so should Siri.

There’s no doubt in my mind that an even more conversational Siri with a more powerful processing engine that could parse complex queries like Hound is in the works as we speak.

Whether or not a next-gen Siri leapfrogs Hound remains to be seen, however.

Were you impressed with Hound?

Source: The Loop