SoundHound, the company behind the eponymous music recognition app, launched a beta version of its Hound voice search app, which it claims to be different because it “gives users the ability to speak naturally”.

The launch is accompanied by the debut of Houndify, which enables developers to add a voice-enabled, conversational interface “to anything”.

SoundHound said it has been “in stealth mode with its voice technology research and development over the last decade, quietly building the technology ingredients and a product that elegantly solves the challenge of enabling fast and accurate voice search when people speak naturally”.

The company has not said if its pivot means that it will reduce its focus on its music app, which has had more than 260 million unique downloads globally.

Hound “combines voice recognition and natural language understanding in real-time to deliver the fastest and most accurate results seen on a mobile voice service to-date” through a “speech-to-meaning engine”, unlike other similar services that use word and phrase detection to generate search results, the company said.

“Hound will redefine the way we interact with devices, information, and services,” said Keyvan Mohajer, founder and CEO at SoundHound.

It is now in private beta for Android with a launch on iOS expected soon.

With regard to Houndify, Mohajer said it “is an operating system-agnostic, one-stop destination for all the necessary technology components, including fast and accurate large-scale speech recognition, powerful natural language understanding, and numerous existing ‘Houndified’ domains”.

Online travel brand Expedia is one of Hound’s launch partners.