Hound is a voice search platform aiming to take on Siri, Cortana

SoundHound, the music recognition app that never quite took off like rival Shazam, has just launched a new, natural-language voice search app that attempts to do what digital assistants like Siri and Cortana can only dream of. Simply called Hound, the app is now available as a beta on Android, and offers to handle tasks like internet and local searches, navigation, weather, geography, news, flight status, stocks, time zones, and much more.

To understand how much more Hound can understand over its rivals, just look at some of the sample questions demonstrated by SoundHound CEO Keyvan Mohajer: "When is the sun going to rise two days before Christmas of 2021 in Tokyo, Japan?", followed immediately by "What is the population of the capital of the country where the Space Needle is located?" Both of these are answered correctly, with almost no lag in between.

But Hound goes beyond a mere search app, with the company also launching a Houndify platform that aims to let developers add its voice search to other apps and devices. To start off, Hound has partnered with several outside services, such as Expedia, which allows hotel search and booking with voice commands.

The app isn't perfect yet, as sometimes queries will return with simple web search results. But then again, that's what the beta is trying to improve. SoundHound says they are working on an iOS version, but in the meantime Android users can download and sign up for an invite on the Google Play Store.