We were too busy smashing our Snake high score to imagine a world in which phones can spit out directions to the nearest KFC, but it’s 2015, and we’ve been spoiled by digital assistants like Siri and Google Now for quite some time.
Plenty of third party contenders have cropped up over the years, and with Microsoft’s Cortana making its way to iOS and Android, the competition to be your digital butler has never been hotter.
Hound - created by the developers behind Shazam competitor SoundHound - has been ten years in the making, and is the latest player to enter the digital assistant arena.
While we’ve only seen a short demo video of it in action, it’s absolutely blown us away, and looks even better than Google's recently unveiled Now on Tap.
Not only can it carry out all the tasks we’ve come to expect from the likes of Siri and Google Now, but you can interact with it in a much more natural, fluid and specific manner. It appears to be far more useful, not to mention incredibly fast.
You can, for example, ask Hound what time sunset is scheduled for three days before Christmas 2018, and it’ll happily answer you in an instant. Why you’d ever want to know that information is a different matter entirely, but the fact that it can deliver it is a feat worth applauding in itself.
Booking a hotel is another example. Ask Hound to find a 3-4 star hotel, within 16km of a location for a maximum of ₹8000 a night, and it’ll throw up all the information you need.
If, after asking that question, you asked “how about two star hotels?”, it’s intelligent enough to throw back the same results with the new criteria, without you having to ask everything else from scratch.
You can check it out for yourself by downloading the beta from the Google Play Store right now, though you’ll need to sign up for a beta key from within the app itself.
Google, if you’re listening, snap this up and throw it into Android M. Cheers.