Bixby is Samsung’s new and improved voice assistant that came packaged with the Samsung Galaxy 8 line up. While it has been usable in a op-in beta state since the release of these phones, today Samsung is confidant enough in it’s new assistant to take it out of beta and launch it officially to the world.
If you own a Galaxy S8 or S8+ your phone will have a dedicated Bixby button on the side which will bring up the voice assistant or you can just say “Hi Bixby” and issue it with a command. Initially most people were not impressed with the assistant so much so that they tried to remap the Bixby button to open other apps even ironically to that of the Google voice assistant.
Speaking of other assistants, what exactly makes Bixby unique and how does it stand out from the more mature voice assistants out there including Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri.
Being fully integrated and developed into Samsung phones by Samsung themselves does give it certain advantages such as being able to control the deepest of your phone’s settings with just your voice. Instead of having to use your fingers to open your quick settings and change your brightness you can simply say “Hi Bixby, change my brightness to 50%” and it will automatically do just that, which is kind of cool. Any setting in your phone you can command Bixby to open or change with your voice. Here are some cool features you can do that google voice just can’t:
“show me my last photo taken”
“show me notifications”
“post my last picture to Instagram”
“Open quick panel”
But for everything else you might think of such as opening a specific app on your phone, finding directions or information on practically anything, Google Assistant can already do that and do it better due to it’s wealth of information and databases it has access to, not to mention the years of AI learning it has on Samsung.
As with any new voice assistant it seems really cool but asking your phone to change your brightness after pushing a button or saying “Hi Bixby” I could have just used my finger to pull the quick settings down and do it myself just as fast if not faster. Especially out in the real world I just don’t see myself talking to my phone to change settings on my phone and right now that’s all it seems Bixby has going for it over other voice assistants. This is basically how I see it right now:
Google Assistant: Anything relating to information or questions you have in the world as well everyday tasks such as sending text messages, setting up reminders, alarms and calendar events.
Bixby: Change your phone’s internal settings with your voice.
Even when you look at Samsung’s launch video for Bixby there is nothing shown there that Google Assistant can’t already do. They really should have focused on the unique offerings of Bixby but I guess they are hoping people aren’t too aware of the differences between voice assistants or just start using Bixby as their introduction to voice assistants thanks to the the forced upon you dedicated button that you can’t re-map to anything else thanks to Sumsung patches.
Samsung didn’t have much luck with S-Voice and I really hope their newest incarnation ‘Bixby’ has more success but they just have so much catching up to do, either way it heats up competition in the voice assistant category which will lead to new innovation and more intuitive voice assistant software. I’m still waiting to have a casual conversation with my phone instead of just rigid commands. If Bixby can focus on more intuitive and casual voice commands and not try to compete with the wealth of information Google has at it’s disposal they might just have me using it for more everyday tasks such as sending a text message or a calendar event.
If you have a Galaxy S8 or S8+ give Bixby a try and let me know what you think and if you see it becoming your main voice assistant (if you even use one).