Spotlight: Hound, a voice recognition assistant on steroids for Android and iOS, is finally out of beta


Developer: SoundHound Download: Android, iOS
Category: Tools Price: Free

After spending the past year or so in a beta state, SoundHound's extra-smart voice assistant – Hound – is finally out in the United States. If you thought it doesn't get better than Google Now and Siri, you have to try it! Even in its beta version, the app was downright impressive with its fast responses, and the months of polish it endured have turned it proper beast-mode. With Hound, you simply speak what comes naturally and you don't need to learn any special keyword phrases. You can also follow-up with specific queries to filter, sort, or add more information to your voice requests.

For example, you want to get a quick weather update. You'll say "Ok, Hound, what's the weather going to be like tomorrow at 6pm?", and when you get your answer, you can immediately follow up with “How about in Hawaii during August?” You can also ask around for restaurants, coffee shops, stores, and be as specific as you’d like! Tell Hound to “show restaurants within 10 miles, except for Chinese,” and the assistant will exclude Chinese restaurants. You can be pretty liberal with your requests – blurt out "give me directions to the nearest Starbucks" – or be straight-up capricous, like “show me hotels in Seattle that are pet-friendly, have a gym, and cost less than $275.”

Hound can also haul you an Uber cab. It's integrated with the transport service to give you fare estimates, journey times, and the ability to speak your destination and book hands-free. It can also handle trivial voice assistant stuff, like making phone calls, sending text messages, doing web searches, and making quick calculations. Want more? Get stock prices, flight statuses, dates and times, alarms and timers, song recognition, mortgage calculator, currency and unit converter, word and phrase translation, and other good stuff delivered to you by Hound.

Out on Android and iOS for free, Hound is only available in the United States right now, although the company promises it's working to make the assistant more widely available.

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