Houston, we have a new voice assistant in town. Following Samsung’s announcement that Bixby Voice would be rolling out in over 200 countries globally, our Samsung Galaxy S8 received an update that surprise, surprise, gives us access to Bixby Voice.
“Geez, do I really need a new voice assistant?”, I hear you say while rolling your eyes. Well, you’re not entirely wrong because a lot of what Bixby Voice can do, Google Assistant can do too. However, while there are definitely plenty of overlaps with strengths and weaknesses here and there, Samsung’s approach to the voice assistant is one of convenience. They say that whatever you can do with touch, you can also do with voice.
In essence, Bixby’s biggest strengths like in its multi-layered deep application functions. Stuff that would normally require multiple touches into several menus within an app, is supposed to now easily accessible by simply asking Bixby to do so. For example, you can ask Bixby to show you your Uber account settings (which requires you to tap several layers into the Uber app UI), it should be able to bring you right to the page you want.
But that’s not all, Bixby is also supposed to be well integrated into your Bixby-enabled smartphone. This means you should be able to flawlessly perform system tasks like showing you pictures of certain people in your gallery, setting alarms, texting contacts and a whole bunch more.
We’ve given Bixby a short test run and from our time with it, we’re pretty impressed. Voice recognition is on point and we can get it to show us specific photos of items (like photos of food) and send messages via WhatsApp pretty reliably. We even got it to execute complex commands like telling Bixby to launch WhatsApp and send the last photo we took to a specific contact — which is actually incredible. However, when it came to contextual understanding, Bixby doesn’t do so well, at least not as well as the Google Assistant.
Of course, we’re merely scratching the surface here so you should check it out for yourself if you want to explore more of what it can do.
If you haven’t received the update yet, be sure to check your system updates. Give it a try and let us know what you think of Bixby in the comments below!