SoundHound launches new personal assistant program

SoundHound HoundFor most of their lives, sound recognition apps SoundHound and Shazam have been playing tag with each other. One adds a feature or a partnership, then a month or two later the rival does the same. But recently, we’re starting to see each company carve out a more unique niche. Last month, Shazam announced that it is adding a visual recognition component. Today, SoundHound introduced a new personal assistant.

The program is called Hound, and it will be a direct competitor to Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Google Now. The voice-controlled interface is intended to handle complex requests from the person. Wired gave this example: “I need a hotel three Thursdays from now near Fisherman’s Wharf for less than $200 and it needs to have a pool and free WiFi.” The demo by SoundHound founder Keyvan Mohajer also showed improved speed for processing even these complicated orders.

The success of the feature will likely hinge on how well SoundHound is able to reposition itself as a multifaceted tech company rather than just the competitor to Shazam, whereas its new rivals have had more time in the field to establish reputations and brand awareness. That said, we’ll be watching to see if and how the new business addition impacts SoundHound’s presence in the mobile music world. Hound is currently in a private beta on Android, but is slated to arrive in iOS in the future.

Anna Washenko