Editors' Note: The "Download Now" link directs you to the iTunes App Store, where you must continue the download process. You must have iTunes installed in order to open the link, and you must have an active iTunes account to download the application. This download may not be available in some countries.
If you've ever used SoundHound (or its arch rival Shazam) chances are good you were holding your phone out to identify a catchy song whose name you didn't know. Now the company is introducing Hound, SoundHound's little sibling, but one with a slightly different identity.
Instead of helping name that tune, Hound for Android and iPhone prompts you to search for a song or artist with just the spoken word. Unlike SoundHound, the abbreviated Hound won't accept singing, humming, typing, or recorded sounds.
The results pull from SoundHound's music database, displaying album or artist art, a YouTube snippet, tour dates, an info page, a shortcut to the digital music store, and lyrics when they're available.
Like its big sib, Hound is a polished, slick-looking piece of software that offers a variety of useful information about songs and singers. We demoed it on both platforms, and for the most part, the app was fast, especially when fulfilling more-specific requests for an artist or song. The iPhone version delivers the extra benefit of hooking into the iPod music player, to plays those songs you may already own.
Since the app focuses on rapid, voice-driven music search, its uses are also more narrow. As a standalone app, it's functional and attractive but not as broadly applicable as the free SoundHound and premium SoundHound Infinity apps, both which go beyond this lighter app's functionality.
While Hound has its immediate uses, the app also lays the groundwork for SoundHound to step into other categories of voice search, which will bring it into more direct competition with companies like Google, Nuance, and possibly Vlingo. That's a smart move for SoundHound to expand from the algorithm-honed Sound2Sound database that powers these apps in the first place, to other implementations for its so far superior aural processing. Hound is a good start, but we're already looking forward to what comes next.
Hound is instant music search with your voice: speak it, get it. If you love the famously fast music recognition in the SoundHound App, you're also going to love Hound: now you can just say the name of a song or band you already know to get instant gratification: Lyrics Song previews and full length videos Artist top songs, tour dates, and bios Instant sharing to Twitter and Facebook A full interactive iPod player to power your own library with lyrics and artist links NEW full screen lyrics: go landscape on a song or player page see big, beautiful lyrics Hound will revolutionize the way you search for music. No need to type or tap, just hound it. It's easy: - Tap the Hound button. - Speak immediately and clearly, into your iPhone's microphone (bottom of device or through mic-enabled headsets on iPods). You can say a song and artist like Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars." Or you can just say a band's name or a song title: Mumford & Sons or "Fall for You." - After speaking, tap the Hound button again. - (Power user tip for even faster response: you can also press and hold the Hound button, speak, and then release the button.) Hound can be your "wow" voice search app: - When your best friend or favorite DJ tells you about a band and you need to know more: just say the band's name to get their tour dates and bio, or say a song's name to grab those lyrics you missed or buy the track on iTunes. - When you need instant sharing to Facebook or Twitter: just say the name of a band or song then tap the big "share" button. - When you want to play a song that you have on your iPhone: just say the song and artist name, then tap the iPod icon that appears on the song page and you'll be listening to the song within seconds. Note: Thank you for downloading and using Hound, a free, ad-supported app. We are growing our database daily and we love feedback. If we don't seem to have a song or artist you're looking for, or if you have any other suggestions, please let us know through email at email@example.com.
What's new in this version:
- LiveLyrics (available in USA & Canada)- New, big Lyrics option in landscape mode- See artist and bands' latest Tweets and Facebook posts- AirPlay support- iOS 5 support- Speed enhancements- Bug fixes