SoundHound is releasing a new app to compete with voice command-based virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. The app is called Hound, and it can ‘understand’ and respond to user’s questions, even very complex ones.
Interviewed on the new app by the Wall Street Journal, SoundHound CEO Keyvan Mohajer explained that the key to the system is in its integration of speech-to-text translation and search query – two processes that are usually performed separately. The integrated approach lets Hound work both faster and more effectively, and is the secret to its being able to answer indirect questions such as, ‘How old is the country in which the largest lake is located?’
Right now it’s only available in English, and on Android, but the app is clearly designed to compete against the major players mentioned above. Remarkably, it was custom-made by SoundHound with the support $40 million in venture capital, and it seems likely that the company will continue to innovate and improve the system going forward if it’s going to be a serious competitor in this area.
And there’s good reason to compete. Voice command is becoming an increasingly important user interface as devices like the smartwatch emerge, and will be all the more important when the Internet of Things starts to be realized in the smart car and the smart home, with myriad devices requiring a means of interfacing with users but may not be appropriate for touchscreens or buttons. It’s predicted to be so important that its popularity will dramatically alter the background infrastructure supporting the technology. So a number of opportunities are opening up for technology that can not only accurately read user speech, but also interpret it intelligently.
Source: Wall Street Journal