It offers similar features to what you’ll find with other digital assistants like Google Now, Siri, and Cortana — except it’s claiming to be faster and more accurate, while providing a more natural conversational experience. The company, famous for the SoundHound app that identifies music tracks, says since the beta, Hound has improved its accuracy and has “doubled its number of domains.”
Domains mean partnerships the company makes to integrate third-party services with the Hound app — so similar to how Google allows third-party apps like NPR to integrate with its assistant, Hound has the same capabilities and today’s launch comes with an Uber and Yelp integration. This means you can order an Uber through Hound, or have it pull up Yelp’s business listings just by talking to the service.
That’s what makes Hound stand out from its competitors — it’s pushing a way to talk to our smartphones naturally, as if we are talking to another human, rather than following a keyword-based manner of speaking.
Of course, there’s the hands-free mode, that you say “OK Hound” to activate, similar to saying “OK Google” to activate Google’s search assistant.
SoundHound may have a solid app that may also be able to best the industry-leading apps from Google, Apple, Microsoft, and even Amazon, with Alexa — but it has a lot of ground to catch up to if it wants to build a strong user base. These services still have a geeky factor that prevent them from becoming widely used, and a part of that reason may be because of the strict limitations in how you can speak to these digital assistants.
If SoundHound has made it possible to eliminate that awkward-sounding conversation with your phone, they may just be able to steal the top spot and popularize the use of digital assistants.