SoundHound, a Santa Clara, California headquartered audio recognition and cognition company, today pushed an interesting update to its free and paid App Store apps, which now include a brand new, pretty powerful voice-activated music assistant feature.
Responding to the ‘OK Hound’ keyword, the new search and assistant mode translates your spoken commands into appropriate actions, letting you identify songs, discover new music, add tracks to your Apple Music playlist and more, hands-free.
Aside from the new ‘OK Hound’ mode, the refreshed software comes with a redesigned Home screen icon and an overhauled History page.
And thanks to SoundHound’s integration with Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and a handful of other services, you can now use your voice to not only identify songs but add them to your custom playlists on these services and much more.
Here are a few things you can ask SoundHound to do:
- To identify a song playing on the radio, say “OK Hound, what song is playing?”
- To discover more about your favorite artist, say “OK Hound, what is Rihanna’s latest song?”
- To play a song, say, “OK Hound, play Hello by Adele”.
Of course, that’s just a small sub-section of all the things the app is capable of.
Other examples of the ‘OK Hound’ keyword include asking the app to bring up music charts, look up artist trivia, display your search history, create a station on Pandora based on artist/track, add a song to a Spotify playlist and much more.
For a list of things you can ask the app to do, say, “OK Hound, what can you do?”
The new voice-activated music assistant in SoundHound is really, really powerful, but don’t take my word for it: in order to give you a better feel for ‘OK Hound’, here’s a video of it in action.
I know what you must be thinking: how on Earth is ‘OK Hound’ useful if one can ask Siri to identify songs (thanks to its Shazam integration) anywhere in iOS, right? Well, I can imagine a few situations when ‘OK Hound’ might come in handy.
For starters, if you’re a fan of the app and use it on a regular basis, chances are you’re more likely going to want to interact with the app using your voice. Besides, SoundHound’s voice recognition is polished and works really well.
‘Ok Hound’ is also a much better option to identify songs or play those you’ve identified, hands-free, in the car, in the gym, on the go and more. And last but not least, SoundHound has LiveLyrics for music playing around you, provides a nicely done Apple Watch app and can even identify songs you sing or hum.
As for the redesigned app icon, here’s what it looks like.
The new SoundHound app icon: old (left) vs. new (right)
As you can see, the signature SoundHound orange is still there.
‘OK Hound’ is actually based on the company’s own crazy powerful search assistant platform, aptly named Hound, which can be downloaded for free on the App Store (it, too, responds to the ‘OK Hound’ wakeup phrase).
SoundHound hopes to bring this technology to devices other than smartphones and tablets through the Houndify APIs that permit developers to integrate its voice-controlled interface into their own apps.
For an in-depth look of this platform, check out this Wired article from June 2015.
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