SoundHound has long been one of two premier tune-identifying applications (the other being Shazam), and it’s now introducing a downsized version of mobile song recognition: Hound.
Hound is a free app that prompts you to search for a song, artist or album title with just the spoken word. Unlike its parent app, SoundHound, the new app won’t accept singing, humming, typing, or recorded sounds.
By speaking or typing the name of a specific song, Hound will dig for results 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.
Like its more expensive ($4.99) sibling, Hound is a polished, well designed mobile application that offers SoundHound’s impressive music database. In my testing, I found the color scheme, navigation and overall UI to be just like SoundHound, but it’s free.
It’s also incredibly fast, much faster than SoundHound or Shazam, but you’ll need a little more information on hand than you would using them. The rapid functionality, however, gives it a really convenient level of functionality-something this app needs in order to be a standalone app distinguishable from SoundHound. In my testing, I found that to be the app’s most important feature.
While Hound doesn’t really mean a step forward for music discovery apps, it paves the way for SoundHound to step into more voice-search technology, perhaps putting it in direct competition with Nuance and Vlingo. This is certainly a smart move by the developing company, which already has superb aural processing, as well as an algorithm-honed Sound2Sound database.