SoundHound is putting its proverbial money where its mouth is. Seven months after introducing its Houndify developer platform, the company has integrated the technology into its own self-titled music discovery app. Now you’ll be able to easily find information about any song or artist while you’re driving or have otherwise occupied hands — all you have to say is, “OK Hound.”
Using just your voice, SoundHound enables you to discover music, create and add playlists, find artist information, and more. The company is betting on the idea that there’s a whole lot of music discovery to be had from the car radio, which is likely the impetus for “houndifying” the SoundHound app. CEO Keyvan Mohajer explained that a hands-free experience can lead to increases in three things: “onward consumption, discovery, and search.”
Unlike its virtual assistant app, Hound, the SoundHound app will focus exclusively on the music domain. This means that you won’t be able to ask about the weather, but you can find out more about an artist, album, and other pertinent information.
There’s also a feature that lets you play a song just by speaking the title. If the service has the music listed in its catalog, SoundHound will reference it. if not, it’ll load up the music video from YouTube.
“We are creating a future where we speak naturally to connected devices, starting with our mobile phones and the apps we love,” said Katie McMahon, vice president and general manager of SoundHound. “By incorporating ‘OK Hound’ within the SoundHound music app, we bring the power and elegance of our speech-to-meaning technology to our music fans who can now search, discover, play music and videos, and even build playlists, by simply speaking.”
With more than 300 million downloads worldwide, SoundHound is already rather popular, and the addition of voice controls is likely to curb people’s need to fidget with their phones while driving. However, simply saying “OK Hound” at any point won’t enable the feature — the app needs to be activated first, which means that as soon as you get into the car, you’ll need to enable SoundHound. Unfortunately, the service doesn’t have integrations at the system level like Siri or Google Now do, as that would alleviate this issue.
Although this is one of the first apps to integrate Houndify’s platform, SoundHound has used its speech-to-meaning recognition technology in other areas, such as with NVIDIA’s Drive CX platform in car dashboards and Samsung’s ARTIK platform to power Internet of Things devices.
With its Houndify platform, the company aims to empower developers to incorporate voice-activated controls and natural language processing easily across a myriad of domains. The expectation is that you’ll be able to talk normally to your devices and gadgets, as opposed to remaining bound by a required syntax.
The “Houndified” version of SoundHound is only available in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia, due to local integration issues, and is available for iOS and Android devices.