Hound is no puppy. It may be the newest voice-search app to hit Android, but it’s been training to learn complex voice commands for over a year.
Hound is the work of the SoundHound team, which is better known for its song-identification service (you know, the one that isn't Shazam). The company launched Hound in private beta for Android phones on Tuesday, with hopes that it will be your go-to search companion for navigation, weather, and general search queries.
SoundHound founder Keyvan Mohajer told Wired that Hound is engineered to handle search queries faster than rival services because the company is applying all it has learned about voice technology from its SoundHound service. In fact, the original concept for Hound has been a dream for over a decade, but the company opted to target the lower-hanging fruit of music search first.
Developers can also integrate Hound search technology into their own apps with an API. You can download the app now from the Play Store, but the farthest you’ll get is an invite screen. Hound is also coming to iOS, but no date has been set yet.
The story behind the story: Hound enters a very competitive field. Google Now voice commands are still the gold standard on Android, especially with the always listening capabilities of the Google Now Launcher. Microsoft is also bringing its Cortana to Android. And when SoundHound moves to iOS, it will have to contend with Siri, which is always available with a press of the home button.