Bixby Brings Samsung Smartphones Into the Personal Assistant Era

1 - Bixby Brings Samsung Smartphones Into the Personal Assistant Era
2 - Bixby Learns More About the User Over Time
3 - It's Integrated With Bundled Applications
4 - Bixby Does Contextual Searches on Object in Photos
5 - It Works as a Shopping Companion
6 - Bixby Is Location-Aware
7 - It Performs Typical Assistant Tasks
8 - It Has a New Notification Engine
9 - Card-like Interface Displays Important Information
10 - More Tasks Are on the Way
11 - Look for Samsung to Add Bixby to Other Devices
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Bixby Brings Samsung Smartphones Into the Personal Assistant Era

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ were announced March 29 with a new virtual personal assistant called Bixby. The feature, which can be activated through a vocal command or by pressing a physical button on the right side of the handsets, can perform basic assistant functions, such as setting reminders or creating calendar events, but it also provides contextual information to users based on their location. Bixby even helps users search for images, aids them in their shopping pursuits and controls apps. Bixby is a significant release in the broader virtual personal assistant market. Samsung's smartphones now have a digital assistant offering to compete with Apple's Siri and Microsoft Cortana, an important consideration in the highly competitive mobile market.

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Bixby Learns More About the User Over Time

While Bixby can digitally “see,” the virtual assistant’s core feature is in listening. The app listens to vocal commands, interprets them and responds accordingly. It uses natural language interpretation and will ask questions if it doesn’t understand. With each request, Bixby learns more about the user and his or her requests.

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It's Integrated With Bundled Applications

Bixby works with many of the apps that come bundled with the operating system. For example, users can select a photo from their picture gallery and tell Bixby to send it to a specified friend. Bixby can also be used to place calls, send messages and more.

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Bixby Does Contextual Searches on Object in Photos

As noted, Bixby can digitally “see.” Users can employ the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+’s camera and get more information from Bixby. When the camera is pointed at an object, Bixby can search the internet and provide contextual information, such as ratings of books, for example.

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It Works as a Shopping Companion

Shopping is front and center with Bixby’s help. Users can focus the camera on a product, snap a photo and find out what it’s selling for online. From there, users can make a purchase. Bixby also can provide recommendations of other options.

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Bixby Is Location-Aware

Bixby has a knack for knowing where users are and responding. For example, Bixby can be told to send a notification when users are home and, when it recognizes its location, follow the command. Users also can take a photo of a building and Bixby will identify it and return relevant information.

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It Performs Typical Assistant Tasks

Bixby has some nifty features, but it also performs all the standard tasks expected from a virtual personal assistant. Users can create calendar events, dial a friend or family member and create reminders.

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It Has a New Notification Engine

Bixby can use notifications as a way to communicate with users. Rather than send users an audible alert, Bixby can float a notification to users to remind them to buy milk from the store or check their calendar, as they requested. The notification will remain there until users dismiss it.

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Card-like Interface Displays Important Information

Bixby comes with a Home screen that let users see all the content they care most about. Home, which works with some native apps, uses a card-like interface to show that information. A contact card, for instance, might show missed calls. Bixby can analyze user behavior and create cards to help make Home more appealing.

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More Tasks Are on the Way

Samsung confirmed it’s working on new capabilities and Viv Labs, the artificial intelligence company it acquired last year, is working with the Samsung AI team to build out Bixby’s features. But Samsung hasn’t said when new tasks will be made available.

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Look for Samsung to Add Bixby to Other Devices

Bixby is available on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ and is activated by a physical button on the right side. While Samsung hasn’t confirmed its plans, the company is expected to roll out Bixby to other devices in the coming weeks and months. The chances are that Bixby will play a prominent role in future Galaxy device releases.

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