Here’s what we think of Bixby (in its current form)
When Samsung announced Bixby, I was excited to try it out. Wait. Scratch that. I couldn’t wait to try it out. The firm marketed it as being the mother of all digital assistants, capable of simultaneously communicating with you using voice and text. Only one of those things turned out to be true, though. Unless you live in South Korea, of course.
You see, shortly after Bixby’s unveiling, Samsung revealed that its main feature — Bixby Voice — wouldn’t launch in the United Kingdom (and a slew of other countries), because it wasn’t fluent in English. Fast forward two months, and it still isn’t available, which has disappointed many Galaxy S8 owners all over the globe. Bixby as a whole isn’t entirely useless, though.
Customers can use a feature called Hello Bixby, which is a card-based interface like Google Now — but not as good. When toggled using the Bixby physical key, it presents you with a slew of information, like calendar events and the local weather. There’s also Bixby Vision, a service capable of identifying objects using the rear-facing camera. However, it rarely works, and when it does, it’s often inaccurate.
Let’s find out what the rest of the team think.
I have no clue why Bixby is available to the general public right now. Without voice control to go along with it, Bixby is simply an intrusive feature on my Galaxy S8+, especially when you consider it has a dedicated button, one that keeps getting in the way when you’re trying to hit the volume buttons and sometimes when you’re trying to even get the phone out of your pocket. In the month or so that I’ve been using my phone, Bixby has offered to automatically set the alarm for me after detecting that I went to sleep at around the same time a few nights in a row. It also tells me I should use it to set reminders, but since setting reminders and alarms are two things that Google Now lets me do with my voice, I have no idea why I should be switching to typing these things out on Bixby.
Bixby’s cards are also pretty useless and seem to be a way for Samsung to show off its phone’s various features. It tells me to look at photos taken during the day, check out Samsung’s theme store, see how the weather is like, and use S Health to track my activity. I opened Bixby while writing this to see if there’s something new that might be useful, but all I see is a card about a few videos on YouTube. These videos aren’t based on my usage patterns; Samsung is simply showing popular videos for my region since none of Google’s apps are supported by Bixby, so it can’t tap into my everyday habits. You need to use Samsung’s apps for that, but I have no idea why I should be switching to the company’s email and browser apps after so many years of using Google’s offerings.
Bixby is clearly a result of Samsung wanting to do everything instead of focusing on a few things and doing them right. I know, it will also form the basis for Samsung’s interconnected IoT network in the future, but as it stands right now, Bixby is best left ignored if you have a Galaxy S8 or S8+. Bixby is certainly capable when it comes to getting things done with your voice, but without support for voice control in most markets, it remains to be seen just how useful the service will be in a more functional form.
Samsung hyped up Bixby quite a bit prior to the Galaxy S8‘s launch but it then said that one of the flagship’s biggest features won’t be available at launch. The company could have played it out in a different way, since it’s now taking the flak for making customers wait for a feature that it couldn’t stop boasting about.
If you’re not in South Korea which is the only market where Bixby has been launched properly, I’m sorry to say Bixby is utterly useless. Hello Bixby doesn’t do anything that Google Now or Google Assistant can’t already. It’s why I have an extra button on my Galaxy S8+ that I have absolutely no use for. I don’t appreciate having to tolerate such uselessness on a device that costs $900.
An argument can be made for Bixby Vision’s efficiency, but you’ll find that the novelty wears off pretty quickly. Unless Samsung releases Bixby properly with support for features like money transfers, I don’t see myself even launching Hello Bixby just for the heck of it.
Asif Iqbal Shaik
After the grand failure of S Voice, I read that Samsung acquired Viv Labs (created by developers of Siri) for making its next digital voice assistant. So, I thought Samsung would’ve learnt from its mistakes, but looks like it didn’t. Samsung hyped up Bixby a lot during the announcement of the Galaxy S8. It even included a dedicated button for Bixby on the smartphone. However, Samsung failed to ready Bixby Voice in time for the launch of the Galaxy S8. I used Bixby for a few weeks to see how good its other features are, but I am sad to say that they’re quite disappointing.
Bixby Vision is nothing more than Google Goggles which has been available for years, and I never found myself using it. Hello Bixby would’ve been slightly useful if Samsung had partnered with more services. Right now, it just shows me news stories from Flipboard and information from Samsung’s stock apps, and it’s quite slow in doing that. I don’t see a reason why I should use it over Google Now, which does a brilliant job of displaying important bits of information right when I need it to. If Samsung wasn’t ready to offer Bixby Voice worldwide, it shouldn’t have offered a dedicated button that’s now sitting uselessly on my $1000 phone.
Unless and until Samsung releases Bixby Voice, I don’t think I would ever use Bixby again.
The main issue with Bixby is that most of its functions aren’t available yet, and there is already a good voice assistant on-board every Android device. Samsung already failed with S Voice because of Google Now, and it has now introduced Bixby, which looked awesome in Samsung’s presentations but doesn’t really do much for most users. Bixby will also always be the second voice assistant on a device thanks to Google Now. The dedicated Bixby button, meanwhile, makes sense as a way of pushing Bixby to consumers, but it doesn’t help if it takes ages to load Bixby, which is what happens if you don’t use Bixby regularly.
It’s also a joke that for a service like Bixby from a company as big as Samsung, we need to wait over two months (and more in some markets) before we’re able to use it in its proper form. Yes, Hello Bixby might be a handy way to get things done on the phone, and yes, Bixby is here to stay. But Samsung needs to make it worth our while. Bixby Vision in the camera is fun to try a couple of times, but I have never used it after my review period.
Bixby is utterly useless here in my country (the Netherlands). Bixby’s voice control feature isn’t available yet, and even when it will be, it will not have support for my native language. I would need to speak English to my phone; I find it awkward enough to talk to my phone unless I’m on a call, and doing it in a different language would be even odder. Furthermore, I prefer written agendas over phone reminders and my five-year-old son does a good job of waking me up every day, which makes Bixby even less of a needed feature for me.
Bixby Vision is one feature that we have available, but I find it very intrusive in the camera application, and I pretty much can’t stand it. That Samsung released Bixby in its current form to the public, let alone put a dedicated button for it on my phone, is a joke. If it was fully supported (or at least had a few more features), I could understand it. But the way it is now, that button keeps getting on my nerves, and I’ve disabled Bixby entirely.
If you own a Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+, we’d love to know if you’ve been using Bixby and what you think of it. Be sure to let us know in the comments section down below.