AI assistants are all the rage among tech firms. Companies constantly attempt to outdo each other, trying to give their users the most helpful and responsive hand-held virtual butler possible. Amazon has Alexa, Microsoft has Cortana, and Apple has Siri. Bixby is Samsung’s offering, and in this article, we’ll take a look at what Bixby can do for you.
Bixby debuted in early 2017 as the replacement for Samsung’s previous effort, S Voice. By the end of the year, it was upgraded to the 2.0 version and had been implemented across a wide range of Samsung’s smart products.
Like other AI assistants, Bixby can be used to interact with many of the features on your phone via voice controls, as well as to provide you with information that is tailored to you and your interests. It can even learn to recognize different voices, and so it will target its answers to the person talking to it.
Which Devices Support Bixby?
Originally, it was only available on Samsung’s flagship smartphone and tablet models, with a dedicated Bixby button featuring on devices from the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 onwards. Bixby has now spread to the majority of Samsung devices.
It can now be found on Samsung’s Smart TVs, Family Hub 2.0 refrigerator, and even a frontloading washing machine. It is also incorporated into Samsung’s answer to the Amazon Echo, called the Galaxy Home.
Bixby isn’t just limited to Samsung products, as since the 2.0 release it has been open to third-party developers, allowing for integration into their apps.
How Bixby Works
Bixby is presented as an intelligent, and learning, assistant, that gets better at knowing what you want the more that you use it. It understands natural language, meaning that you can talk conversationally to it rather than relying on unwieldy set phrases. It is designed to be able to do pretty much anything that you can do one your device using touch.
It is also contextually aware, which means that it keeps track of what the device is doing, and can tailor its responses accordingly. So, say you’re asking it to tell you movie times for next Friday, and it gives you the list, you could then just say “How about next Saturday?” rather than having to explain what you want again from the start.
Bixby Home is the landing page for the Bixby app. It’s essentially a feed that harvests information from the other apps on your phone to present you with a curated, customizable list that the AI can then interact with.
It can link with various other services, such as Facebook, Spotify, and Twitter, and will display highlights from your activities and notifications. It will also display news, weather, and various other information that it thinks will be of interest.
It is also where the integration with Samsung’s other smart devices shows up, by providing you with the various controls available for your Internet of Things-enabled tech.
Bixby is designed to make interacting with your devices easier, and so it can do pretty much anything that you want it to. You can tell it to set a reminder for you, or to post the last picture you took to Facebook, or even to stream your phone’s screen to your Bixby-enabled TV.
You can access it by pressing and holding the Bixby button if your device has one. Otherwise, you can use the voice command “Hey, Bixby.” Because it understands natural language and is contextually aware, you can ask for what you want however you want, and it will work out what you want, unlike other services that require you to say set phrases to get the information you’re after.
Bixby Voice isn’t available in every language yet, but Samsung is gradually rolling out new languages over time. It’s currently available for:
- English (UK)
- English (USA)
- Mandarin Chinese
Similar to forerunners like Google Lens and Amazon’s shopping app, Bixby Vision intelligently interprets what it sees on your device’s camera and then provides you with options depending on what is there to be seen.
It can recognize landmarks and then suggest local restaurants and bars. Present it with a menu written entirely in Spanish, and it can translate it in place for you to one of over 100 different languages. If you have a bottle of wine, it can tell you details about it and suggest where to buy more. It can even give you an estimate of how many calories are in your food.
The latest addition to the virtual assistant’s repertoire, Routines allow your device to learn how you use it in various situations and adjust settings and responses accordingly. You can teach it to dim the screen an hour before you go to bed or to start playing music from your Driving playlist on Spotify when it connects to your car’s Bluetooth.
Bixby at Your Service
While it may not necessarily be more capable than other AI services, Bixby is an effective and useful AI assistant that is able to handle more casual, conversational approaches than many of its competitors. As you learn how to use it, it learns how to help you, and it can help to make your life easier when dealing with increasingly feature-rich smart devices.
Have you got any cool stories about how Bixby has helped you out? Let us know in the comments section!