Posts Written On April 25, 2017

At a Glance – Bixby

Samsung’s release of the S8/S8+ brought a lot of new software into Samsung’s Ecosystem. A notable one is Bixby. An AI system to rival Google and Siri, it works on making your life easier. Its launch version will be in various features, including, Bixby Voice, Bixby Vision, Bixby Home and Bixby Reminder, for example.

A quick way to get an idea of Bixby, is this:

  1. Bixby is a complete solution: it is designed to let you carry out a full range of interactions, rather than launching an app for example, or carrying out a single task. Samsung says that Bixby will be able to do just about everything you can do with an app using touch.
  2. Bixby is contextually aware: this is one of the buzzwords of AI, demonstrated by Google Assistant, for example. This will mean that Bixby can recognise the state that the app is in and take the right actions based on your requests, also letting you mix voice or touch.
  3. Bixby understands natural language: this means that you don’t need to use set phrases, but you can give incomplete information and Bixby can interpret and take action. Natural language recognition has been key to the rise of Alexa, for example, and is now a key element of modern AI.

Bixby Home

What used to be Flipboard, is now replaced by Bixby Home on the Galaxy S8. With a swipe to the right from the home screen, a stream of information ranging from smart reminders for tasks you commonly carry out on your phone, to news and weather are displayed. Remember, this is all contextual information, so you will get a lot of reminders about frequent contacted people, setting up alarms at around a usual time, etc.

I use it quite often, especially when I want to take a quick glance in everything that I need to do on a given moment. The best part is to see scheduled reminders come up, first thing. I do like having my feed with constant reminders! My only concern is how LIMITED the app support is. With such little support, it may be hard to get a buy-in from consumers on Bixby Home. I see the potential however. From Twitter feeds and Facebook updates, it has the potential to be a better version of Google Cards.

For an AI assistant, it seems to be weak in app support.

Bixby Vision

Bixby Vision is a great way to find information about an item that is close to you. Utilizing the Camera app, you are able to take a photo of almost anything and get an image identification, or get the option of where to shop for the item. Its fast, responsive and doesn’t encounter too many hiccups. Bixby Vision starts to process the item, and creates a box of what is that you are looking for. (You can always make the box bigger or smaller) I was able to get information on the NES system rather quickly.

It does need to be noted that this feature is powered by Pinterest to search for Images and Amazon for Shopping. Its rather straight forward and easy to use. Another feature it can do is translation. Powered by Google Translate, it does a good job in translating a good portion of text from a photo.

Final Thoughts

While this isn’t an initial impression, there are a few things that stuck out to me that needed to be mentioned for Bixby. Once Bixby Home comes out oficially for the US, I will give  amore detailed review on it. But Samsung has the right idea, and I hope to see it grow into fruition.