Bixby, the assistant to the Galaxy S8, is not like Siri, Alexa, Cortana or Google Now, and does not want to be

Bixby was one of the most anticipated novelties of the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 + that have just been presented. The new voice assistant is born on these smartphones, but it's actually interesting because it probably won't be the only type of device we see it on.

That is one of the differential characteristics of a development that is different from what we have seen so far with Siri, Alexa, Cortana or Google Now. It has a different purpose from them, and Samsung may have hit the nail on the head with that approach.

Don't touch say

Much has been put on the table by Samsung to highlight its commitment to Bixby. You can invoke this voice assistant by calling him by name, of course, but he also occupies that desk to the left of the main one where we used to find Fliboard Briefing. Things get really serious when we find that in addition to those options in the new Galaxy S8 and S8 + there is a physical button on one of the sides that is solely and exclusively intended to activate Bixby when we need it.

Bixby, yes, it depends on the cloud, and as one of its top managers stated, the necessary hardware capacities are minimal, which will make its integration into other devices very easy. It would not be strange if Bixby ended up reaching other Samsung smartphones in the short term, for example.

The basic principle with which Samsung wants to differentiate Bixby is that "everything you can do by playing, you can do by talkingThe idea is to take advantage of the options of the native applications of the device. At the moment there are only a dozen of them that work together with Bixby, but in addition to expanding this native catalog, developers will be able to take advantage of this power adapting their own utilities. thanks to an SDK that will appear later The objective is clear: if there is a touch option to do something, there will also be a voice command that does the same.

A clear example would be to rotate photos with your voice, apply a filter or share them with a "send this photo to my wife". This phrase, by the way, demonstrates how Bixby will understand the context. And if it does not, it will offer the best solution found and ask us if that is indeed what we wanted to do.

Not only that; There will also be voice control of services with which Samsung and other companies have already collaborated. Pinterest, Foursquare, YouTube, Facebook or Netflix are among the first to offer those options. Support may be limited for now, but it's just the beginning of an approach that's less focused on answering questions and more focused on doing things directly with your voice. Samsung knows that it is very difficult to compete with Google, Microsoft or Amazon in the field of Machine Learning, so it has adopted a (smart, by the way, and never better said) practical approach.

Augmented reality takes another dimension

Among those differential features of Bixby is the possibility of translating 52 different languages, but it is also capable of searching for information about an object from which we take a photo. Image recognition works as a kind of augmented reality system in which once we point at an object with the camera, a card is shown with images similar to what it detects that the object can be.

This ability is also associated with the fact that Bixby is able to offer purchase links to a product on Amazon just by taking a photo of it, something that will actually simplify the work for many shopping fans who "gossiped" products. in physical stores of all kinds to try or try them on, but then they ended up buying them in online stores like Amazon.

Bixby makes us completely forget about S-Voice, which was Samsung's first foray into the field of voice recognition on their mobiles. Viv's purchase served to reinforce a section that could be very important in the coming years, and that seems to show in the power of an assistant who is capable of understanding context and natural language.

This development is also responsible for displaying relevant information to the user in the style of Google Now in which we will find created reminders or news, and it will be interesting to see how Samsung "fights" with Google Assistant and its predecessor, the aforementioned Google Now, to win the confidence of users in this type of assistance work.

Bixby Home, the future

As we said, one of the most ambitious ideas of Samsung with Bixby is to make it a very versatile assistant that is capable of promoting user interaction not only with your smartphone (currently Samsung), but with other products and appliances that in fact - attention - they will not only have to be manufactured by Samsung: the company seems willing to open Bixby to products from competitors such as, why not Apple.

The idea here seems to be similar to the proposals of Apple and Google, which try to offer us more or less closed ecosystems in which it is possible to centralize the control of various devices and home automation solutions with the voice or with a smartphone or tablet.

It seems therefore that Bixby has only taken a first step in the Galaxy S8, and it is expected that this assistant ends up conquering all kinds of products manufactured by Samsung, including a new router presented during the event and which is part of its still limited but ambitious SmartThings platform for IoT products.

It seems inevitable that another of the steps in that escalation is an Amazon Echo or Google Home type solution that benefits from the options of this assistant and allows you to enjoy its capabilities in a different format.Its adoption in televisions, fridges, or sound systems - among many other types of product - also seems inevitable if the assistant really behaves as its managers expect.

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