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

  • vijaynsingh

    Demo looks amazing !!!

  • Jonathan

    I found my new personal assistant..

  • Cristian Meneses

    Wow! So fast and conversational…. Loved the ability to chain different queries on a same sentence… Looking forward to it!

  • o_O

    WTF??? It’s insanely fast…

    • Callum Jenner

      If you read the article, it says that it has been sped up.

      • Senith Deelaka Ranchagoda

        They’ve only speed up only the text to speech pace!

  • Scope

    They need to slow down the speech and change the voice. it talks too fast and the voice makes me want to kill myself other than that it’s incredible.

    • Fanboy 

      I love people like you who don’t read the article, lol

      • Anmol Malhotra

        Hahahaha! I have the same feeling like you. :p 😀
        Scope: Your scope of this comment is pointless. :p

      • SoylentGreen

        Circle jerk lol

  • Zoom

    Purchased by Microsoft/Apple/Samsung/Google in 3…2…1…

    • Falk M.

      Please let it be Apple if anyone needs it, it’s Apple.
      I’m not saying that because I have an iPhone, I’m saying that because right now Siri borderlines uselessness.

      • Stemro

        Well from a consumer standpoint it’s actually better if one of the other companies buys it rather than Apple!

        I say this because the others are multi-platform; as mentioned in the article Microsoft’s Cortana is coming soon to iOS (and Android) – and Google Now is also available on iOS via the Google app. So with the other companies everyone wins. Apple on the other hand are more exclusive – you aren’t going to see Siri on other platforms (though to be fair Samsung are also exclusive with their S-Voice).

      • Falk M.

        Hmm, then again you could say that the alternatives you mentioned borderline uselessness on iOS since they can’t integrate very well.
        But I get your drift and you’re also right, it’s just that a little more competition from Apple would maybe push the others, too.
        Because right now I fail to see a very motivated or advancing Apple in this field, but I also don’t see them just quitting the personal assistant game.
        In the end, as with so many things Apple nowadays you wonder what the hell is going on and not in a positive surprise kind of way like when they announced the new iPhone 8 years ago, more in the unfortunate surprise kind of way à la price hikes when they come double and make little sense, lack of drive in various areas, Aperture getting the boot without replacement. (before anyone says Photos is an alternative, please…. It’s not. Not at all.)

        More and more I’m beginning to wonder:
        What gives, Apple? Why are you so keen on being so neglecting on so many things and adapting this mentality of chasing only the consumer, dropping the pro-sumers and pros increasingly?
        You know, the demographics that are – in the long term, if you treat them well – much more loyal.
        *cough* 1990’s *cough*

        Guess it’s easy to forget when the big dollar is right around the corner and you are so keen on doing only few things, but doing those right.
        Well, if only the few things you did do you were doing right!

  • Zach

    I am hoping this could be a full-fledged Siri replacement with Activator or something

  • DomPerignon1

    AMAZING! INCREDIBLE! All the voice search out there look lame in comparison to this one.

  • Bronson

    Finally chain-ability that seems to work well enough. Hope they’re able to make it work for a wider range accents; since not everybody speaks English the same way….

  • X1

    Unfortunately, this is a fail as are all apps like this that aren’t integrated into the OS they opertae on.

    • This isn’t the limited iOS, apps made for Android can easily control everything Siri controls, from system settings to apps, to alarms, plus I can set this as the default assistant so that when I press and hold the home button on my OnePlus One, it launches the voice search of this app.

      In other words, it’s only a fail on iOS.

  • L J

    All I got say is wow

  • Cameron Nelms

    DAMN! Put this AI in a robot and we’ll be 20+ years in the future!

  • great but its sound more like a robot and its faster text-to-speech

  • GuyBey0ndC00L

    Looks awesome

  • Mr_Coldharbour

    Siri would choke if you just asked it to set a timer for 10secs. This is immensely impressive! I use SoundHound exclusively for telling me what song is playing over Shazam because I find it far better, at least for my musical tastes which is mostly underground music. This personal assistant wipes the floor with Siri.

    • Nah

      Errr no.. Siri sets timers fine. Don’t exaggerate…

      • Falk M.

        Please try to set a timer for anything but hours and minutes only.
        Try adding a timer for x seconds, anything that isn’t measurable in full minutes.

        Then report back to us and tell us how that worked. 🙂

      • Robin Keanu Keim

        “Set a timer for 13 seconds”
        Siri: “Okay, T minus 13 seconds…”

        What’s the problem with setting timers again? o.O

      • Falk M.

        Wow, you’re right, they must have added that at some point.

  • James G

    Sounds like the voice interaction wars are going to continue heating up! Siri, Cortana, Google Now, Alexa and now Hound.

  • John Wickham

    I’m a little stunned that a small company like SoundHound can create a product that (I’m sorry, Siri, I love you) is profoundly better than Apple’s. I’m definitly expecting something big for Siri at WWDC.

    • GuyBey0ndC00L

      Siri was made by a small company too.

      • John Wickham

        Originally, I’m aware. The Siri on my iPhone was made by a billion dollar company.

      • Falk M.

        Not it wasn’t really.
        Apple OBVIOUSLY hardly cares about Siri anymore, I doubt they are putting much work into it and if they are they are failing massively or can’t progress.
        Whatever it is, Siri is still a beta product, especially going by the scope of things it can do.

      • John Wickham

        Siri’s actually not labeled beta anymore. And there certainly are reasons to believe that Apple is still dedicating resources to improving the service, I wouldn’t say that don’t care about it.

      • Falk M.

        I know they don’t label it beta anymore, what I was implying is that the software still is as mature as beta software, whatever the hell they call it or opt not to call it.
        It’s like calling Vista without at least Service Pack 1 a finished product.
        It was a debacle and rightfully so.

        Siri isn’t a debacle, as it isn’t doing something worse or not at all that a predecessor did, but then again you could argue that iPhone 4’s voice assistant (not Siri, obviously) was snappier at least and it didn’t need an internet connection for the simplest of things.
        So hmm…

        But actually, Siri itself isn’t too shabby… It isn’t too shabby in 2011.
        It’s 3.5 years later now and it has barely made any progress.
        That is quite a slow development, but I’ll chalk it up as “probably needed ressources for Apple Watch”.
        However, now the clock’s ticking and they really have to deliver in the near future, because if people COULD freely pick their personal assistant on iOS and they were informed about the competition, I don’t think Siri would take the cake.
        But since it’s iOS you can’t set a 3rd party personal assistant as standard and the scope of what 3rd parties can do in terms of system toggles for example is very limited, too.
        Then again, Siri itself can’t do a lot either, I guess the most annoying times is when Siri gets what I’m trying to do but has a reply along the lines of “I cannot do XYZ” instead of just doing it.
        So clearly someone coded some code to understand a command and instead of attaching a sensible action to it they opted to just return a “nope, sorry”.
        That however is an example for grade-A frustration.
        There are countless more things where Siri returns a suggestion for a web search, about the most useless thing to do unless I’m asking for… well a web search.

        TL;DR: Siri is more frustrating than anything. Secondly, for me personally, it’s still useful for a FEW things, most notably setting a timer from across the room using Hey Siri, which is arguably a good addition, however it’s not a lot for 3 years of maturing. (there are other things, but overall the list of things Siri can do hasn’t grown a lot considering a multi billion dollar company is behind this, the assistant is part of multiple devices, is the feature you access using the only operational button on the phone / tablet / iPod, so clearly it’s a center-stage feature in their thinking, especially after all the drumming it up on 4s’s launch.

        PS: Wow, that tl;dr really isn’t very short… 🙂

  • GuyBey0ndC00L

    This is how the terminator started.

  • I don’t really understand voice search apps. I only ever use Siri to search stuff every once in awhile, not to where I’d want an app.

  • QuarterSwede

    Holy crap. That is seriously impressive. That’s what people want with a digital assistant.

  • Seba

    Is it available yet in App Store? I want it ASAP:)

  • Andrew

    My jaw was actually hanging. Wow. That’s amazing! Apple should take notes!

  • Holy smokes! Yet another personal assistant I can use to replace Google Voice Search…ready to set this as my default assistant.

  • JayDee917

    Apple, buy SoundHound now and integrate this technology into Siri!!

  • Abhinav Chaudhary

    So now Apple’s gonna buy Soundhound

  • Falk M.

    In that time all that Siri would have done would be kick me into Safari for stupid web searches for the most simplest of queries.

    Does Apple even bother with Siri anymore?
    I mean, seriously, do they even have a PERMANENT team working on it?
    If they do, I wonder what they are working on, because I certainly can’t see much work being done to it other than those rare, useless additions they introduce because they likely had some deal with a big company that kind of forced them to give Siri a new feature.

    Jesus Christ, Apple has a motivational or human resources problem.

  • somaxd

    i always preferred Sound Hound over Shazaam… it always worked WAAAYYY better.

  • AnoNymouz

    Seems just like Google only faster. Something sounds fishy here.

  • milann

    amazing and scary at the same time, what if someone combine this and an artificial animal together??…

  • SoylentGreen

    Technocracy is the goal, any billionaires here? House and bunker in the cook islands?
    Didn’t think so.
    You won’t have a job of work in a technocratic society. One world government and robotic everything,
    Cue the eugenics. One day elite humans will look back and wonder at the stupidity of the way we peons embraced and promoted the tools of our own demise.

    There is a war on for your mind. An infowar