Samsung announced its own digital assistant, Bixby, in 2017 to take on Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. The company’s virtual assistant is found on almost all mid-range and flagship Galaxy devices, including the A and S series. It has even expanded to its smart TVs and refrigerators since then.
So what is Bixby, and how can you use it effectively? Let’s find out.
What Is Bixby?
Bixby is an AI assistant packed right into your Samsung device. It does more than just answer your questions and listen to voice commands, it can also use its “eyes” (a.k.a. your camera) to identify objects.
Currently, Bixby’s central function is to assist you in navigating your device and help you get through your day. Bixby learns from your habits and tailors itself to your needs. It even goes so far as to recognize individual voices and change its response based on who’s asking.
What Does Bixby Do?
Bixby is a smart assistant that lets you voice control your phone, but it can do a lot more. Bixby Voice, Bixby Vision, and Bixby Routines are Bixby’s main features that you should get acquainted with. These handy tools allow you to interact with Bixby by speaking, opening your camera, or tapping your screen.
To open Bixby Voice, you can either long-press the side button on your phone or simply say “Hi Bixby.”
Before you try activating Bixby Voice with voice wake-up, make sure that you’ve registered your voice. The first time you long-press the side button, Bixby will prompt you to say “Hi Bixby” several times so it can get accustomed to how you sound.
When you are done with the setup, you can start asking Bixby basic questions about the weather, movie times, and your schedule. But these simple commands don’t unlock the true power of Bixby Voice. This AI assistant can conduct two-part commands and even complete app-specific requests.
You can send text messages, set reminders, read emails, and make phone calls completely hands-free. Tell Bixby to “Read my latest text message,” and it’ll read your most recent message aloud, while also giving you the option to hear your last 20 messages. In order for Bixby to read your messages, you’ll have to use the default Samsung Messages app.
Want to start diving into some of Bixby’s more advanced commands? Ask Bixby to upload a selfie to Instagram, create a photo album with a name of your choice, play a specific artist on Spotify, and even rate your Uber driver.
You can also use Bixby alongside several apps. To see the full list of available apps, open Bixby and tap the Discover icon in the bottom right corner of the screen. From here, select the More ways to use Bixby option. A list of all the apps installed on your phone and how you can use Bixby voice commands with them will be shown.
With Bixby, you can use your voice to seamlessly control other apps and navigate to a particular system setting. This is not possible with Google Assistant or Siri—they do not provide granular control like the ability to upload a selfie to Instagram or block a specific number.
Additionally, you can use Bixby to control your SmartThings-compatible devices quickly. This includes asking the voice assistant to change the TV channel, turning off the lights, or finding the location of your SmartTag. You can also use Bixby to enable accessibility features using your voice. For example, you can say “Turn on screen reader” to turn on the feature.
That’s not all, though. There’s Bixby Quick commands, too, that you can use to trigger a set of tasks with just a simple voice command. For example, you can tell Bixby “Good night” and set it to turn on Do Not Disturb, start playing a relaxing playlist from Spotify, and turn down your phone’s brightness. Set up Bixby Quick Commands to get the most out of Samsung’s digital assistant.
When you want to start using Bixby Vision, open your Camera app, tap More, and select Bixby Vision in the top-left corner of the screen (or open it through the Bixby Vision app). With Bixby Vision, you no longer have to struggle to figure out the identity of an object or an animal. Bixby’s huge database of knowledge can match an image of almost anything to a search result.
You can interact with Bixby Vision in several different ways. Scroll through the menu bar at the bottom of the screen to get an idea of Bixby’s capabilities. Bixby translates text, identifies images, finds shopping results from major retailers, locates nearby attractions, scans QR codes, identifies food and its calories, and discovers new wines.
Identifying objects, food, and shopping results is as easy as it sounds. Aim your camera at whatever you wish to identify, and Bixby will automatically scan it for you and pull up results. You don’t always need to point your phone’s camera at an object to use Bixby Vision, though. It can also scan images in your gallery and provide you with relevant information.
Similarly, you can use Bixby Vision to translate text in real time or even copy text from images. All you need to do is point your Galaxy phone’s camera to the subject or scan the relevant image.
Modes and Routines
Formerly known as Bixby Routines, Modes and Routines allow you to trigger certain tasks on your phone based on the time, location, or event. If you use Google Assistant routines or IFTTT, you’ll quickly get the hang of this feature.
Let’s say that you always hook up your phone to Bluetooth and use Google Maps when you get into your car. When you enable Bixby Routines, you can “teach” Bixby to launch Google Maps when you connect your phone to your car’s Bluetooth. Similarly, you can use Routines to automatically put your phone in power-saving mode when you go to sleep.
Bixby Routines was among the most useful aspect of Samsung’s voice assistant. With One UI 5, Samsung dropped the Bixby branding, indicating that it no longer wants the feature to be associated with its voice assistant. Check out our guide on how to use Modes and Routines in One UI 5 on your Samsung phone to get the most out of the new feature.
Which Devices Support Bixby?
Bixby made its debut on the Galaxy S8 series in 2017. Since then, it has been available on all major mid-range and premium smartphones launched by Samsung, including the Galaxy S10, S20, S21, S22, Note20, and Fold/Flip lineup of devices.
The company initially included a dedicated Bixby button on its devices to quickly trigger it. However, with the voice assistant failing to pick up, it merged this functionality with the side key/power button. If you are not a fan of the voice assistant, here’s how you can disable Bixby on your phone.
Phones aren’t the only devices that come equipped with Bixby—you’ll find the smart assistant in Samsung’s newest smart TVs and smart refrigerators.
What’s the Future of Bixby?
Samsung has made some major improvements to Bixby since its debut in 2017. However, these changes have not been enough and Bixby still lags in terms of voice recognition and features when compared to Google Assistant and Siri.
Worse, the voice assistant has not received any notable new features and enhancements in the last couple of years, and it has not received any media spotlight as well. If anything, this shows that Bixby might not be the Google Assistant and Siri alternative that it was initially promised to be.