Scrappy Hound Stalks Siri and Cortana

SoundHound on Tuesday launched a private beta of Hound — a personal assistant similar to Siri, Google Now and Cortana — and began fielding requests for invites. SoundHound built its music ID service on voice and pattern recognition technologies. In developing Hound, SoundHound has retrofitted that technology’s framework with what it calls its “Speech-to-Meaning” engine.

BlackBerry Sweetens BBM for Android and iOS

After releasing its BlackBerry Messenger chat app for Android and iOS devices to considerable fanfare last fall, BlackBerry on Thursday announced that it had expanded the app’s functionality on those platforms with two key features. Previously available only to users of BlackBerry’s own mobile platform, BBM Voice and BBM Channels are now part of the company’s offerings for Android and iPhone.

White House Mobilizes Devs for App Upgrade

The White House launched new versions of its mobile app Tuesday, releasing the app source code along with the new version in an invitation for developers to tinker with the revamped iOS and Android apps. The apps, which have been rebuilt from the ground up, now feature live video streams of White House events and access to 99 percent of the content on WhiteHouse.gov.