A new voice search and personal assistant app called Hound debuted on iOS yesterday that apparently outperforms Siri, Google Search and Cortana in terms of speed and recognition accuracy.

Developed by the creators of music-recognition app SoundHound, the new app provides extremely fast responses to complex, nested natural language queries with highly accurate results and location-based suggestions.

hound iOS app
Hound uses a simple single-button interface similar to the Google Search app for users to tap and ask a question. Alternatively, users can say "Ok, Hound" to initiate a query, which can broach a multitude of subjects, including weather, GPS navigation, directions, Uber, web searches, and local hotel, bar and restaurant queries.

As well as stock price, flight status, date, time, alarm and timer requests, users can also activate a Shazam-style music recognition feature called "SoundHound Now", which also responds to sung and hummed queries.

Many of the queries are already handled by Apple's voice-activated personal assistant Siri, however it is Hound's reaction speed, language translation and search accuracy that make the app particularly noteworthy, according to The Verge.

The app is so fast that it can produce near real-time translations of whole sentences in other languages, and it can spit back mounds of requested data faster than you could ever possibly glean it from Google with a keyboard.

[...]

The software's true appeal is understanding questions within questions and sussing out human context. You can give it sprawling, absurd requests nested inside other requests like, "What is the population and capitals of Japan and China, their area in square miles, and the population of India, and the area codes of France, Germany, and Spain?" and Hound will give you the information just seconds later.

The developers are apparently reluctant to disclose how the app is able to perform so well compared to competing voice-activated services. However, SoundHound CEO Keyvan Mohajer puts it down to a new "speech-to-meaning" language processing technique.

In essence, 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.


Despite Hound's impressive abilities, iOS users will take some convincing to adopt the app in replace of Siri, which comes baked into Apple's operating system and can be voice-activated at any time without having to open an app.

Hound is a free download on the U.S. App Store and is compatible with iPhone and iPad.

Top Rated Comments

KieranDotW Avatar
86 months ago
If it's really that good, Apple should buy it up before anyone else can.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
86 months ago
This is when being able to replace a default app with an app of your choice, could be really useful.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
izyreal Avatar
86 months ago
That was impressive! Products like this make me excited to see the future.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SteveJobs2.0 Avatar
86 months ago
My issue with Siri is that she babbles too much. I just want her to do what I tell her rather than trying to be witty all the time. Her remarks certainly appeal to some individuals, such as kids, but professionals find it to be an annoyance.

There should be a "simple" mode where she doesn't constantly tell me that my "digs" are ready when I turn on the lights. Who thought that it would be a good idea to use the word digs?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
levitynyc Avatar
86 months ago
I think I may use Siri once a month to set an alarm.

Other than that, is anything faster using voice?

Most of the time I've tried to use it, it either hears me wrong or spins for 10 seconds and does nothing.

I can't believe Apple is still going with something so frustrating and clunky to use.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dweezle3 Avatar
86 months ago
I do think that one of the biggest reasons I use Android on my personal device is because I can choose my default apps. Extremely useful.
Best part of jailbreaking, for me. I’ve already assigned Hound to open when I press and hold the home button rather than Siri. It's been a great improvement so far!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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