Many people with busy lives have often wondered how nice it would be to have an assistant. Someone there just to help with the mundane tasks. Such an arrangement is bound to lead to many more tasks getting done, surely? Unfortunately not many of us can afford the opportunity to test the theory so we go assistant-less, sigh.
As always technology is coming to our rescue in the shape of the virtual assistant, the voice interface is finally listening. Demonstrating just how far voice has progressed SoundHound recently gave the world a sneak peak at their Hound app. With lightning fast reflexes Hound is capable of answering any question and may one day become everyone’s favorite virtual assistant.
SoundHound has been working away on voice recognition for many years but recent demonstrations of their new Hound app got chins wagging and apps recognising. Hound not only converted speech incredibly fast but even more stunning was how quickly the answer was returned. Even complex questions seemed no problem for Hound. To achieve such impressive results SoundHound rewrote the entire speech to meaning process by combining the stages typically done separately into a single fast piece of code.
Impressive especially considering Hound is still in beta. Even this early on it’s obvious that Hound is more than an answer to any question but it takes the virtual assistant concept further. Eventually Hound will integrate with specific services so you could ask Hound to book you a flight and it will be done. Of course adding services to go with each possible action will take time but it is coming.
SoundHound’s MusicSearch product gives us another clue as to how impressive their audio analysis and recognition technology is. Similar to Shazam it is deigned to answer that age old question ‘what is that song’? With MusicSearch users can even hum a tune and the search will find that song.
SoundHound are not limiting their technology to creating a virtual assistant for people so busy they never have a hand free. Houndify is giving computers the ability to understand people even as they waffle on or do as we do when we speak to each other. Released as a developer’s kit Houndify lets anyone add Speech-to-Meaning functionality to their app or website.
Hound is currently in beta on Android and is tagged as coming soon to Apple. Google Now, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana are all building to be the virtual assistant for everyone, but who will win the war to be helpful?