Hound – The next generation of voice assistance [Review]

Overview –

Hound is a voice assistance app from SoundHound Inc, the developers of the Sound Hound music recognition app. Hound aims to set itself apart from the competition by providing a level of depth that other voice assistants do not offer.

Developer: SoundHound Inc.

Price: Free

Highlights

  • Easy to use
  • Accurate
  • Ability to answer complex questions

Setup

Hound was very easy to set up. Once you have downloaded it from the app store, find it on your device and open it. You will be asked to confirm and approve a few permissions. Simply hit allow on those. Hound will begin to walk you through a brief tutorial and once that is complete, the app is ready for you to use.

Impressions

When it comes to voice assistance on a mobile device, Apple has Siri, Android has Google Now. Hound, by Sound Hound Inc., aims to change that.

Hound does the same thing all of the other voice assistant apps on the market do: it tells you the weather, shows you where restaurants, coffee shops, and movie theaters are near your location. At first glance this is nothing special. We’ve had this technology available to us for years. However, Hound takes it one step further: Boolean logic.

Boolean logic refers to complex logic in questions. You often see it used in development and database querying. Hound uses Boolean logic quite effectively through allowing you to ask it complex, multi-part questions. You read that right; you can ask Hound complex, multi-part questions. And when I say complex, I mean complex.

I’ll take the examples from Hound’s tutorial to illustrate this point:

  • Hound has you ask it, “Show me coffee shops in my area.” After you ask the question, Hound will return a list of coffee shops in your area. Hound then has you ask it, “Which ones have wifi and are open after 7pm on Sundays?” Hound then refines and filters the results from the previous question with this new criteria.

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  • Hound has you ask it, “Show me Asian restaurants within 10 miles, excluding Korean or Japanese, sorted by rating.” Hound will return a list of restaurants within 10 miles that fit this criteria.

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I feel it is important to note that I tried asking these same questions to Google Now and it could not return accurate answers.

It’s nothing short of astounding that Hound can accurately answer such complex questions. But that’s not the only trick Hound has up its sleeve. You can also ask it to play music clips from your favorite music artists. The app’s tutorial illustrates this by having you ask it to play top hits by Taylor Swift. I asked Hound to play top hits by Queen (my favorite band) and it immediately started playing a clip from Bohemian Rhapsody, followed by a clip from Under Pressure. Hound will continue to play music clips from the desired artist until either your phone goes to sleep or you stop it.

Despite its complexity, Hound still does the basic stuff well. You can ask it for Hotel prices in your area, local movie times, the local weather, etc. Just about anything you can think of you can task Hound with. I even asked it how old Bruce Lee is and it told me his date of death, how old he was when he died and how old he would be today, down to the month!

Aesthetically, Hound looks great. It has a simple, bright, clean design that looks very similar to Google Now. I found Hound to be very easy to navigate and I never felt lost when using it.

Conclusion

Hound is a game changer. Its ability to answer complex questions, as simple as it may seem, really raises the bar for its competition. Hound does what every other voice assistance app does, but it does it better and with greater complexity. Despite whatever loyalties you may feel towards Google Now, Apple’s Siri, or any other voice assistance app that you may use, Hound is a solid entry into the fold that definitely deserves your consideration.

Hound – Google Play Store