Forget about Google assistant Samsung's new Android flagships, the Galaxy s8 and the Galaxy S8+ sport their own voice assistant called Bixby.
It's the company's attempt to take on the likes of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana and Alexa, with a new AI agent that's going to span Samsung devices. First and foremost it's appearing on Samsung's phones, but what is it and what will it do?
What is Samsung Bixby?
Fully announced via blog post Bixby is an artificial intelligence system that's designed to make device interaction easier, specifically designed to avoid the complexity of increasingly fully-featured devices. It will make its debut on the Galaxy s8 devices, but is designed to work across a range of Samsung products.
In it's launch format on the S8, it encompasses a range of different features, Bixby Voice, Bixby Vision, Bixby Home and Bixby Reminder, for example.
In the future we expect to be using Bixby to control the TV, air conditioning as well as phones and Samsung uses this new service to provide one method of interaction with a full range of technologies
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.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.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.
The service essentially works in the same way as other AI solutions like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa in that it listens to your voice, interprets the information and returns the resulting action. The contextual awareness means you can get it to take actions without laboriously detailing exactly what to do with what - it already understands where you are so can take the logical next step.