Hound voice assistant launches in the App Store, but how does it compare to Siri?

By Anthony Bouchard on Mar 1, 2016

There are numerous companies competing to be the top dog in voice assistant software, but the makers of sound-tagging service SoundHound have made another alternative called Hound that promises an excellent voice assistant experience. Many initial reports suggest it’s even more capable than the voice assistants you’re used to using already, such as Siri, Google Now, and Cortana.

So just how capable is Hound? In this piece, we’ll walk you through the new free-to-download Hound voice assistant for iOS and find out if it’s as good as everyone says. Read More

 

Get your Mac to speak any selected text

By Anthony Bouchard on Feb 29, 2016

Your Mac, just like any iOS devices you own, comes with an ability to speak selected text. This comes in handy when you can’t see the text very well and would find it useful to have the text read out loud to you.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how you can make your Mac speak a selected body of text with ease. Read More

 

Siri making random outbursts? Here’s the fix

By Anthony Bouchard on Jan 28, 2016

It’s happened many times to me before, and I can relate to those that it happens to – you’re trying to be quiet in the middle of class or in the middle of a meeting for work, and all of a sudden you hear a random noise and then Siri starts blabbering.

Siri says “I didn’t quite get that,” or “Sorry, I missed that.”

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to solve this problem once and for all. Read More

 

Tip: use Siri to toggle system settings

By Anthony Bouchard on Jan 26, 2016

Siri is the personal voice assistant pre-installed on your iOS device. Introduced in iOS 5, the voice assistant allows a wide variety of functions, conversions, information queries, and fun comments to be invoked with just your voice.

But did you know Siri can also be used to toggle certain system settings on or off too? In this tutorial, we’ll show you how. Read More

 

Need a coin toss or roll of the dice? Have Siri do it

By Anthony Bouchard on Jan 25, 2016

When it comes right down to it, you may not always have a coin or a die in your pocket, but fortunately, you probably have your iPhone with you, and all recent iPhones can take advantage of the pocket voice assistant Siri.

Siri is a powerful tool, and you may not have known this, but if you forgot your coin and die at home, Siri has you covered for all of your chance-taking needs – she never forgets hers! In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to have Siri flip a coin or roll a die for you. Read More

 

Get more intimate with Siri: teach her how to call you

By Anthony Bouchard on Jan 21, 2016

Siri is a great way to get to the things you want on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad without having to tap on anything – it works great for situations where you don’t really have your hands free, but who says using Siri has to be boring?

In this quick post, we’ll show you how you can spice up your conversations with Siri by configuring the voice assistant to call you something different. Read More

 

You can now download Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistant to your iPhone

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 9, 2015

After rolling out a beta of Cortana for iOS to a limited number of beta testers in late-November, Microsoft today released the software to everyone via the App Store.

A free download, Cortana for iOS helps you get things done “by letting your PC and iPhone work together,” as per the official description. The app takes advantage of your schedule, interests, contacts and reminders to deliver personalized results.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and give Cortana a try right now! Read More

 

Microsoft rolling out Cortana for iOS to beta testers

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 30, 2015

Following its announcement earlier in the month that Cortana for iOS would soon launch for a limited number of beta testers, Microsoft has now made good on that promise and started rolling out the beta software, TechCrunch reported this past weekend.

Cortana for iOS looks just like the Windows 10 Mobile and Android equivalents, and works in a very similar way, with a few exceptions stemming from Apple-imposed restrictions on third-party iOS app development. Read More

 

Microsoft invites a limited number of iOS users to beta-test Cortana assistant

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 4, 2015

Microsoft today announced that a limited number of iPhone owners in the United States and China can now sign up to test-drive the first public beta of its personal digital assistant, called Cortana. “Over the coming months, we’ll continue to deliver frequent updates to the app to expand the features and functionality,” notes the Windows maker.

While Cortana offers the most complete experience on Windows devices due to its tight integration with Microsoft’s operating system and Apple-imposed restrictions related to iOS development, Cortana for iOS does take the intelligence of its Windows counterpart and brings that experience to the user’s iPhone. Read More

 

SoundHound has created a voice search app that will knock your socks off

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 5, 2015

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. Read More

 

Amazon launches futuristic connected speaker with Siri-like assistant

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 6, 2014

I’m not really sure what to think about Amazon’s crazy connected speaker with built-in personal digital assistant. What I do know is that the Echo could be a close approximation of what a next-generation Apple TV with built-in Siri might be like. Taking another swing at hardware, the Echo is well designed: it sports both sexy looks and the smarts.

It’s also got a few cool tricks up its sleeve to dazzle unsuspecting users. In a nutshell, the Echo will talk to you, play music, read your news headlines, check the weather, find facts online — and also sell you things — for $199. Read More

 

WhatsApp delays voice calling into early-2015

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2014

Five days after Facebook announced its $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in February of this year, the world’s most popular messaging platform announced plans to enable voice calling in the first half of this year.

The summer came and went and here we are well into the third quarter of 2014 and now WhatsApp is saying that the planned release has been pushed back.

Citing a series of technical challenges, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum said during his presentation at the Code/Mobile conference this week that the VoIP calling service will make its debut in WhatsApp mobile apps in the first quarter of 2015. Read More

 

Google Voice finally updated for iOS 7 look and VoIP-to-phones integration in Hangouts

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 10, 2014

Almost a year following the public release of iOS 7, Google Voice has finally been refreshed with the revamped user interface to match Apple’s guidelines for iOS 7 development.

Now available in the App Store, Google Voice 1.6 also brings support for Google Voice integration in Hangouts and the obligatory bug fixes and performance improvements.

Earlier this morning, the search company issued an update to Hangouts for the iPhone and iPad which enabled free and low-cost VoIP calling to your Hangouts friends and mobile/landline numbers around the world. Read More

 

You can now make voice calls from Hangouts app

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 10, 2014

As suspected, the Internet giant Google on Wednesday has finally gotten around refreshing its free of charge Hangouts mobile application for the iPhone and iPad with the ability to make phone calls to anyone on your Hangouts contact list, using the new voice-calling feature.

As part of its staggered shuttering of the Voice app, “starting today you can make voice calls from Hangouts on Android, iOS and the web,” wrote the search giant in a post over at the Official Google Blog.

Calling landline and mobile phone numbers in the United States and Canada is free, with the international calling rates starting at a ridiculously low one cent per minute. Read More

 

Verizon begins rolling out Voice over LTE ahead of iPhone 6 announcement

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 26, 2014

With precisely two weeks until Apple’s rumored September 9 iPhone 6 announcement, the nation’s leading carrier, Verizon Wireless, Tuesday morning announced the official beginning of nationwide Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology roll-out. The carrier in May laid out plans to deploy VoLTE using the AMR-wideband standard.

VoLTE uses high-speed 4G LTE data network to carry voice instead of the legacy circuit-switched voice network. Verizon says users can expect to enjoy higher-fidelity voice calls ”in the coming weeks.“

Additionally, the Big Red carrier said the feature will be enabled on supported devices via a software update. Read More

 

How to enable Enhanced Dictation in OS X for streaming speech-to-text with live feedback

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 17, 2014

OS X includes a nifty Dictation feature which allows you to control your Mac and apps with your voice. You can use “speakable items”, basically a set of spoken commands, to open apps, choose menu items, email contacts and convert whole spoken sentences to text, wherever you can type text.

This is much like iOS’s Dictation feature as both iOS and OS X use the same Nuance-powered technology that turns speech to text. iOS devices have limited computing power so the Dictation feature on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad requires network connectivity in iOS 7 (iOS 8 supports streaming voice recognition and 22 new languages).

On the Mac, computing resources like CPU power, battery life and RAM are not of paramount importance as on mobile, Therefore, OS X Mavericks provides a new Enhanced Dictation feature which converts your words to text without utilizing Apple’s servers.

In other words, server-based Dictation lets you dictate without an active Internet connection. Because voice recognition processing runs locally on your Mac, text appears instantly as you speak. That is: continuos, streaming dictation with live feedback is made possible.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to turn on Enhanced Dictation in OS X and take advantage of speech-to-text, even when you’re off the grid… Read More

 

Skype refresh brings back voice messaging and contact profiles

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 7, 2014

Having unceremoniously removed voice messaging from the recently remastered Skype 5.0 for iPhone, the Microsoft-owned VoIP provider on Monday pushed a minor update that has brought the useful feature back while adding two others.

The new Skype 5.2 for iPhone is rolling out this morning. In addition to voice messaging, the refreshed Skype app has also brought back the ability to access contact profiles while allowing you to add participants to the existing conversation at any time… Read More

 

Apple assembling in-house speech synthesis team to supplant Siri’s Nuance with better tech

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 1, 2014

As we’ve written before, Apple has created Siri in a modular manner, so that it could easily replace her Nuance-powered speech recognition engine with a similar piece of software. Siri since its inception has been reliant on Nuance technology, but things look to be changing sooner than later.

The company is reportedly assembling an in-house team of speech synthesis and voice recognition experts tasked with developing a proprietary technology that could supplant Nuance and give the personal assistant a “neural network” boost… Read More

 

Microsoft mulls porting Cortana assistant to iOS

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 13, 2014

Microsoft has wont to arrive late to parties: following Siri’s introduction nearly three years ago, Redmond in April of this year has finally gotten around to unveiling a personal assistant of its own, Cortana, at the Build Developer Conference in San Francisco.

Originally conceived as a Windows Phone 8.1 exclusive, the Windows giant is now reportedly considering bringing the virtual assistant to rival platforms, namely to iOS and Android.

Let me get this straight. Beats updates Android appMicrosoft launches Office for iPad before even releasing a touch-optimized version for Windows 8 tablet. Apple reportedly mulling iTunes for Android

What a difference a few years make, eh? Read More

 

Microsoft demos real-time voice translation feature for Skype

By Cody Lee on May 28, 2014

Last night at Recode’s inaugural Code Conference, Microsoft announced a new real-time voice translation feature for its Skype VoIP service. The company says it’s currently in beta form, but it plans to eventually roll it out to all devices.

The goal of the feature is to allow users to hold a conversation with someone speaking a foreign language, with Skype providing near-instant voice translations for both parties. And judging by the initial demonstration, it works fairly well… Read More

 
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