SoundHound Targets Siri with Speech Recognition App

houndMusic recognition service SoundHound has introduced a new app that aims to take on digital assistants like Siri and Cortana with improved natural language speech processing and local information gathering.

The app, called Hound, is currently available as a private beta, and has been described by the company as a substantial leap forward in natural language technology, enabling the app to follow a wide range of questions and commands.

Currently, the app can provide navigation, local, photo and video search, news, weather and travel details including flight times and currency conversion, information on stocks, time zones, geography, and even a mortgage calculator.

The company is also launching a platform, Houndify, that will enable developers to add its voice interface and speech recognition technology to any app, with the ultimate goal of replacing touch and tap interfaces with more natural speech-based interactions.

The app has been in development for nine years, and SoundHounds existing music recognition service is based off an earlier version of similar technology. Among the impressive feats the app is capable of is answering follow-up queries based on context, and dealing with multi-part questions at the same time.

Hound can also deal with multi-layered questions, like “What is the capital of the country the Taj Mahal is in?” and “What time is sunrise two days before Christmas 2021 in Moscow?”

SoundHound is hoping to expand Hounds already impressive abilities over time, and integrate more digital assistant functions like interacting with other apps to make calendar entries, read messages or organise files, but even in beta testing, it is an impressive piece of technology.