The Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with Bixby, which is an artificial intelligent interface that leverages contextual awareness using advanced machine learning capabilities, natural language understanding voice recognition, all which supposes to work and enhance the user experience more or less the same as Google Assistant does. Bixby understands context because it can read what happens on your screen. This way it can provide you with contextually relevant information, which is based on information you are currently viewing, and even by the time and place yours are viewing them. Bixby uses the camera and can translate text in other languages and offer personalized shopping recommendation based on product's screen capture. It can also personalize its home page and arrange the cards on where you are and what time it is. The more you use it, the more it learns about you and the better the contextual understanding of your behavior would be. It's like having a friend who understands your needs at the exact time and place and gives you recommendations, suggestions, and reminders that are tailored to your specific needs.
Samsung has chosen to go with its own AI assistant technology. I think it's a risky but smart move. It's a risky move because Samsung will need to compete against Apple's Siri and Google Assistant. It's more direct competitor is Google Assistant that comes installed with every new Android 7.0 OS phone and available for download to smartphones running on 7.0 Nougat and 6.0 Marshmallow. Keep in mind that Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with Google Assistant as well, not just Bixby.
I personally would prefer to use Google Assistant because it works across all my devices and it's better to invest in a technology that will be there for you on your next phone, even if it's not a Samsung phone. The portability of this technology is very important and give the Google Assistant an edge, for now. Why for now, because right now it's only available on the S8 and S8 Plus, but we can anticipate Samsung bringing Bixby to all Android smartphones. Samsung certainly has to make this technology open to make it accessible to more users.
Samsung needs to stay in this game of AI software because this is where the future lies. A few years from now, the AI assistant will be one of the most important features in mobile phones. It will be smarter, more advanced and offer many new features that will help make our life easier. As for now, it's a convenient feature, but not something that many users pay attention to. I believe that in the future, many people will make their buying decision based on the phone that have the best support for its AI features and it will be not less important than the operating system is being installed on.
Google also have an advantage as a search engine company. I think it has the best knowledge and tools to bring the most advanced features, something that Samsung just can't compete with. This is why I predict that Google Assistant will be the smartest AI around and will lead the AI industry forward as a market leader in that segment. Samsung has the financial power to invest in these technologies and offer advanced features that compliment its dedicated Galaxy phone hardware. Let's not forget that Samsung is currently the market leader in the Android phone market, so it's easier for Samsung to appeal to its phone's users with this new technology.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 also has a dedicated Bixby button on the left side, that with just one press you go straight to Bixby home screen and you can press and hold to talk to Bixby. It's nice that Samsung added a dedicated button, because I personally feel awkward speaking to the phone loud in public, and it's nice that I can just have a button where I can put the phone close to my face like I'm talking and press the button to talk to Bixby.
As of the time of writing, Bixby understands voice command in US English, US Spanish, Korean and Chinese, and Samsung plans to support more languages in the future.
Having an AI, in general, is really important nowadays. We consume more and more information each day and sometimes it's so cluttered that we spend more time trying to find the information we need. It makes it so simple to just say things to the phone than thinking how to do things and type on the screen to get what you want. Sometimes it takes so many steps that I personally just prefer not doing it on the phone. Many operations like calling someone, searching for a recommended place nearby is just a few things that are so easy to do with Bixby than doing it in a conventional way. I know it feels awkward, but I think that with that dedicated Bixby button not just that Samsung has shown confidence in its technology, but it makes this technology more accessible for more people that felt unconfident using it before.
Just imagine how amazing it is to get to see only the tings that are important for you and see them in the exact time and date that you needed them.
Users can use both Bixby and Google Assistant, but I'm sure that once you have chosen one you probably going to keep using it. I don't see myself using two AI assistants. I will probably try Bixby and if it works for me, I will probably use it instead of Google Assistant. Samsung also made sure that Bixby is more accesible using the Bixby home screen, which probably will convince people to at least try it out.
I personally really like Bixby's integration with the camera. You have a little icon on the left side below the live camera view. When you click on it, you can take a photo and ask Bixby to search for a place, image or search for shopping items matching the image of the subject that I've just taken an image of. Why it's cool? because when I go to a shop and see an item, I can just take a photo of it ans compare prices almost instantly. I do it a lot, and this is why I love this cool feature.
Here is a very informative interview with Injong Rhee, the executive vice president and head of R&D, Software and Services at Samsung Electronics. He talks and explains more about this brand new technology. I highly recommend viewing it.
I just hope that Bixby will be here to stay, but it will be almost impossible for it to co-exist alongside Google Assistant if Samsung won't open it for other Android devices that are not Samsung's. Samsung shows really confidence in its new Intelligent AI interface and I do hope to see it evolving with more features and see it available on non-Samsung devices as well. Having a second AI assistant is a good thing, and it's certainly an advantage that the Galaxy S8 offers to users that other Android phones don't, at least for now.