Samsung to Introduce Bixby Assistant on Galaxy S8 Smartphones

Today’s topics include Samsung launching its Bixby AI assistant on Galaxy S8 phones; Intel unveiling Optane Memory to speed up HDD-powered PCs; Facebook starting a new live location feature for its Messenger app; and IBM applying cognitive insights to help minimize phishing risks.

After months of speculation and rumors about creating a personal digital assistant that will compete with Apple's Siri, Samsung is now sharing more about the technology behind its Bixby voice-activated "intelligent interface."

Set to debut today with Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone models, Bixby will use artificial intelligence and a new side-mounted button on the S8 handsets to allow users to explore its capabilities, The idea behind Bixby is to reinvent Samsung devices so they learn and adapt to the behaviors of their users, rather than requiring users to adapt to the device.

That means being able to properly and appropriately respond to voice commands to provide functions for users, rather than users having to search through deep and often complicated command and function menus to operate their devices, InJong Rhee, executive vice president and the head of research and development for software and services at Samsung, wrote in a recent post on the company's website.

We all might not always see eye to eye on politics, but one thing that everybody can agree on is that their PCs can always run a little faster. Intel is staying out of politics, but is making sure to help civilized society in the other department, thanks to the release March 27 of Optane Memory.

Optane Memory is a commercial version of Intel and Micron's 3D Xpoint non-volatile memory processor. It is designed as a fast-cache addition to a conventional spinning-disk PC hard drive to enable the existing power processor to work at optimal speed.

Intel and Micron, which were 10 years in development on this, claimed at the original announcement that 3D Xpoint was going to be able to move data 1,000 times faster than NAND flash solid-state disks.

How much will Optane Memory actually speed up PCs? We'll know sometime next month, when it starts appearing in new PCs.

Also on March 27, Facebook announced that it had instituted a time limit of one hour on users disclosing their locations while deploying its Messenger application.

The social network is calling the feature Live Location, and it is separate from the device's location manager. The main idea is that users now can share their locations with friends in real time to assist in meeting at specific places.

It goes further than simply looking at a map and texting friends as to when you expect to arrive at the meeting. If a user chooses to share a Live Location, those whom the user shares it with will be able to see where the user is on a live map for the next 60 minutes, or until the user shuts it off.

The new feature is being launched globally. It will be available on iOS and Android and will soon be accessible to about 1 billion people who use Facebook's chat app at least once every month.

IBM has been talking a lot lately about its cognitive capabilities, often in the context of the cloud and usually in reference to the company's Watson platform.

IBM this week announced a new cognitive technology that aims to help reduce the risk of phishing. The new cognitive phishing capability however is not directly related to IBM Watson.

"Cognitive phishing detection is an enhancement to our existing phishing detection capability in IBM Trusteer Rapport," Eileen Turner, Program Director, Portfolio Marketing, for IBM Trusteer, told eWEEK.

IBM acquired security vendor Trusteer back in September 2013 and has been steadily helping to develop the company's security capabilities ever since.

Turner explained that Trusteer had previously been using an approach that included a level of manual analysis by the Trusteer security research team, analyzing suspicious URLs for phishing attacks.