Soundhound is the newest application that could possibly spark a new revolution in smartphone voice control technology in Silicon Valley. The app is set to hopefully surpass Siri and Cortina as the top voice control available to the public. Even more impressive is the fact that the app acts like a human.
The app is very similar to Google’s Voice Search, but exponentially faster at identifying words and context and delivering responses. For example, a user can ask the app, “What time is it?” and it would quickly respond with the exact time relative to the time zone. Though, it can handle much more complex inquires like, “How many days are there between the day after tomorrow and three days before the second Thursday in November 2022?” Soundhound’s voice control app will instantaneously respond, “There are 2,726 days between the day after tomorrow and Monday, November 7, 2022.”
Soundhound has also been engineered to understand context and differentiate differences in speech patterns. For example, a user can ask Soundhound, “What is the capital of France?” and then will quickly say, “What about Italy?” The app first recognizes and understands that the user is asking about the capital of France. Since the second question was relavent to the first, the app infers that the user is asking about the capital of Italy. Soundhound CEO Keyvan Mohajer claims this new app is, “a personal assistant without a personality,” possibly paving the way for a tech revolution in Silicon Valley.
The lack of a personality with the app is one of the reasons why it is much faster. Soundhound does not have a saucy attitude like Siri or Cortana. Moreover, the app pulls from many more Internet sources than its competitors. In its debut, the app will have about 50 domains linking through an application program interface (API). This means that the app can better service the user with algorithms for foreign currency conversions and sources for news websites and navigation. Mohajer stated his plan is to greatly advance the capabilities of Soundhound to, “ramp up [domains] into the millions.” He explained that Siri originally started with 10 domains, with 22 new ones after a three-year period of engineering a faster interface.
Mohajer claims that the smartphone app revolution has been designed to replace Google’s search interface, but it is not possible yet. This highlights one of Soundhound’s weaknesses as they come into the market. The app does not have the ability to create an interface that stumps Siri or Cortana as of now. Though, developers at the company have the ability to integrate the system into their own apps through a new platform called Houndify. Mohajer predicts that this will be widely utilized. “Our vision is that everything can be enabled to have this interface, from millions of phones to billions of other types of devices like consumer electronics and cars,” Mohajer said.
Soundhound is coming out just as Google and Apple are doubling down on their efforts to add even more user interfaces for things people are searching for on their smartphones. Considering these are often done through voice control, it could possibly remove the need of Soundhound for simple Internet searches. Last week, Google rolled out Now on Tap, a major upgrade for the release of the Android M. This application links its Now service through all apps on a user’s phone, which gives them a new, faster experience. As well, Apple is said to be secretly developing a new feature called Proactive, which allows a user to search through a different app without leaving the one they are currently using.
Soundhound is the next up-and-coming star in the app world with their new voice control that is set to rival Siri and Cortana. If Mohajer is right with his predictions, Silicon Valley could see a new revolution in voice control technology.
By Alex Lemieux
CNBC: OK Apple Siri and Google, are you ready for Hound?
The Verge: SoundHound’s new voice search app makes Siri and Cortana look slow
Forbes: SoundHound Unveils Voice Control Interface A Decade In The Making To Battle Siri, Cortana
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