Let’s be real here, Apple fans: Siri is not very good. Apple’s digital assistant, while at first revolutionary, is now mostly an ironic party trick. “It speaks, and yet says nothing,” tech critic William Shakespeare once wrote.
But these personal assistants aren’t going anywhere. Companies like Apple and Google, and now Microsoft with its Cortana app, have great incentive to improve these services. Those Silicon Valley giants, though, are about to be lapped by an app you probably haven’t heard of yet.
Meet Hound, a new digital assistant that’s actually, you know, good. Available now on iOS and Android, The Verge is calling Hound both faster and smarter than its closest rivals.
“The app is so fast,” Nick Statt wrote, “that it can produce near real-time translations of whole sentences in other languages, and it can spit back mounds of requested data faster than you could ever possibly glean it from Google with a keyboard.”
What sets Hound apart? Most digital assistant listen to what you say and convert that into text before trying to suss out the meaning of the words.
Hound, somehow, magically, skips this speech-to-text step and immediately begins to process your request. How? CEO Keyvan Mohajer isn’t exactly forthcoming about the underlying technology, but this isn’t something his company has just whipped up.
“We’ve been working on it for nine years. It’s not a new direction,” Mohajer told the Verge. “It was an original ambition of the company and we knew it was going to take that long.”