Soundhound is a service that makes it easy to figure out what song is playing. The company has recently ventured into the virtual assistant realm. The new Hound app for Android and iPhone has some great features. The app won’t dethrone Siri or Google Now on most mobile devices.
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What Does Hound Do?
Hound is supposed to answer voice queries for both simple and complex information. During the walkthrough they give a few examples:
What’s the temperature?
How about tomorrow morning in Austin, Texas?
How about two months from now?
Each question builds on the last. Hound knows you meant the temperature in the second query. In the third query, Hound knows you meant Austin and temperature and gives the average temperature.
In another example, you can ask Hound “Find me coffee shops with Wi-Fi nearby” then ask which ones are open and have Wi-Fi. No need to repeat what you are looking for.
Hound also lets you book an Uber directly from the app and even estimates fares. Fare estimates aren’t easy to find in the Uber app and it doesn’t take voice commands.
Most of the other features in Hound are also in Siri and Now. Of course, since SoundHound makes Hound, it recognizes music just fine. It won’t take you to the iTunes or Google Play store to buy the song. I asked it after it recognized the song “Bad Romance” to “Tell me the lyrics.” Hound said the song doesn’t have lyrics. Bad dog.
Looking for lyrics? Check out our review of MusiXmatch.
What Hound Can’t Do?
Because Hound is an app, you can’t start it with one swipe or a click of the home button. You’ll need to be in the app. That decreases the app’s usefulness dramatically. If you switch apps, you lose your assistant. One of the key selling features of Siri or Google Now is they are accessible everywhere and across apps.
Hound also can’t interact with most other apps. You can’t change settings or look up information from other apps. For example, it can’t check your email. On the iPhone or Android phone, if you ask Hound to call someone it will dial. If you try to text, though, it opens up the messaging app but doesn’t send the text on the iPhone. The Android version doesn’t have that limitation.
Where Hound Excels Compared to Siri and Google Now
When I asked Siri about the temperature, it got that right. Siri didn’t understand when I asked about tomorrow morning in Austin Texas. It thought I was looking for stores by that name.
Google Now understood the second question I asked, but didn’t vocalize the results. Not bad. Google Now didn’t catch my question “two months from now?” related to the weather. Neither Google nor Siri understood a question about coffee shops nearby with free Wi-Fi.
Another area Hound does well is translations. When I ask Siri “How do you say Hello in Hebrew?” it transfers me to Wolfram and spells out the word Hello using Hebrew letters. Google Now does better. Hound, however, got the word correct and pronounced it for me, but only on the iPhone. Hound didn’t give me that option on Android. Best of all, Hound got the pronunciation correct. When I followed up with “How do you say very good hound,” Hound knew I meant a Hebrew translation and again got it correct. Good dog indeed.
Need more translation? Check out our complete guide to Google Translate.
We also have a video on our channel, should you prefer that.
Best Use Case for Hound
I’ll stick with my built-in assistants for most functions. They’re already there and can answer a quick question. When I’m looking for deeper analysis or just a quick ride from Uber, I’ll go take Hound out for a walk. Hopefully, Soundhound will teach this dog new tricks in the future, so might as well keep it on your mobile device.