Samsung’s Bixby Virtual Assistant has Pretty Great Features than you think, Very Easy to Use

Samsung’s Bixby Virtual Assistant has Pretty Great Features than you think, Very Easy to Use

Samsung’s Bixby hasn’t received the most positive reception from its users since its release. However, the virtual assistant has pretty great features it can offer.

Following its debut on the Galaxy S8/S8+ at the beginning of the year, the general occurrence for Samsung’s Bixby virtual assistant is that, it’s a poor man’s version of Google Assistant. Bixby had a rocky release thanks to the delayed launch of Bixby Voice a few months after the S8 line hit the market in the U.S., but now that it’s been out for a hot minute and people are actually getting to use it, opinions seem to be changing.

A lot of Bixby users were quick to respond with their thoughts on the AI and most of them are very positive. They also agreed that, while Bixby isn’t perfect, it does have certain strengths over Google Assistant with more device-specific actions.


  • Bixby comes with three parts, known as Bixby Voice, Bixby Vision and Bixby Home. With Bixby Voice, the user can trigger Bixby by calling it or pressing and holding the button located below the volume rocker, dubbed the Bixby Button. A while before the phone’s release, the Bixby Button was re-programmable and could be set to open other applications or assistants, such as Google Assistant. Near the phone’s release, however, this ability was removed with a firmware update.
  • Bixby Vision is built into the camera app and can ‘see’ what one can see as it is essentially an augmented reality camera that can identify objects in real time, search for them on various services, and offer the user to purchase them if available. Bixby is also able to translate text, read QR codes and recognize landmarks.
  • Bixby Home can be found by swiping to the right on the home screen. It is a vertically scrolling list of information that Bixby can interact with, for example, weather, fitness activity, and buttons for controlling their smart home gadgets.
  • Bixby supports multiple languages including English, Korean and Chinese. It also supports contextual search and visual search.

Language and Country:

  • Currently, Bixby is only available in Korean and English. However, Samsung announced on April 6, that the German release is planned for quarter 4 of . Bixby Korean was launched on May 1, .
  • Samsung reported that Bixby will not be operational on the US version of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ when the devices are shipped to consumers beginning April 21, 2017.
  • Samsung have stated that the key features of Bixby, including Vision, Home and Reminder, will be available with the global launch of the smartphones. Bixby Voice will be available in the US on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ later this spring.
  • The release of English version was postponed as Samsung had problems getting Bixby to fully understand the language.
  • As of August 2017, Bixby is available in over 200 countries, but only in English and Korean.

Setting up Bixby Voice: Like all of Samsung’s updates, Bixby Voice will be a staggered release that will vary depending on your carrier. Once it’s available, your phone should alert you to the change, but there are a couple of ways you can check to see of it’s been pushed to your handset.

You should see a Bixby Voice icon on the Bixby Home screen. If you don’t, head over to the About page to see if an update is waiting.

First, swipe left to get to the Bixby Home screen. If Bixby Voice is live, you’ll see a new “b” symbol next to the Bixby Vision eye and Bixby Reminders bell icons. If you don’t see it, tap the overflow menu in the top right and select Settings. Then tap the About Bixby option and it will tell you if there are any available updates.

You’ll need to update your other Galaxy apps. To do that, open the Galaxy Apps store, tap the overflow menu icon in the top right, then My Apps, and Update. If any apps need to be updated, they will appear on the next screen. If Bixby Voice is one of them, once it finishes updating you’ll be ready to go.

In later versions of Bixby, the “b” icon has been replaced with a gear icon that lets you toggle the side button on and off. If you see it, you’re on the latest version and Bixby Voice is active

Get Started: To start using Bixby, swipe over to the Bixby Home screen and it should walk you through the setup process, which is pretty simple. In the screens that follow, you’ll practice saying, “Hi Bixby,” and try out a few commands. Additionally, there are a few general options in the Bixby Home Settings menu, including background color, feedback sounds, speaking style, and notifications.

Bixby Voice only works with Samsung apps at launch, but more are on the way. At launch, Bixby will only work with a handful of Samsung’s own apps:

  • Bixby Vision
  • Calculator
  • Camera
  • Clock
  • Contacts
  • Gallery
  • Internet
  • Messages
  • Phone
  • Reminder
  • Settings
  • Weather

Does it work with Third-party apps?

 At launch, Bixby is only designed to work with the apps above, but Samsung is looking to bring Bixby Voice to more apps quickly, including some popular third-party apps. The Bixby Labs tab in the Home Settings shows you what apps are in development and lets you opt in to test them. Bixby Labs already includes some intriguing upcoming apps, including Instagram, YouTube, Play Music, Maps, Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Twitter.

Using Bixby Voice: There are two ways to summon Bixby. You can say, “Hi Bixby” or you can press and hold the phone’s side button. A small blue circle will appear in the left corner of the screen ready to receive your request. Just know that the side button works like a walkie-talkie, so you’ll need to keep it pressed until you finish your command.

When you ask Bixby it will appear as a small blue icon on your home screen.

Using Bixby on the lock screen: You can ask Bixby on the lock screen by either pressing the button or saying “Hi Bixby” like usual. However, you’ll need to unlock your phone before it can actually perform your request.

Type commands to Bixby: When you ask Bixby you’ll see a Full Screen button to the right. Tap it and Bixby will expand to fill the whole display. Then select the Search Commands field in the center and you’ll be able to type to Bixby instead of talk to it. Samsung offers a handy list of questions for each of the Bixby Voice-enabled apps.


Correcting Bixby: Samsung wants to get Bixby up to speed as quickly as possible, so after each request is completed (or not), a question will appear on the screen asking, “How was my response?” Tap Great and you’ll get 5 XP points. Tap Let’s improve and and Bixby will take you to a screen where you can select words that were misunderstood or describe what went wrong. As you use Bixby you’ll advance through its levels and unlock features.

XP points: Samsung has gamified Bixby Voice to encourage people to use it. As you level up, you’ll unlock features (these seem to just be background colors for now). You can track your level on the My Bixby page.

General commands: You can launch any app with Bixby just by saying “Open” and the app name. Or you can say, “Open Chrome as a pop-up” to enter that mode. You also can say, “Take a screenshot” to capture what’s on your screen, or “Close recent apps” to clear out your carousel. Basically, if your S8 can do it, there’s a good chance Bixby can assist.

Camera: Ask Bixby to take a selfie, and it will open the camera app and flip to the front camera, with a countdown timer that gives you three seconds to perfect your pout before the shutter snaps. You can also say things like, “Take a picture with the rear camera,” “Turn the flash off,” or “Turn off HDR,” and it will oblige. And when you’re in the camera app, you can say, “Hi Bixby, take a picture” and it will capture the moment.

Calculator: You can use Bixby Voice to calculate simple equations. If you say, “What’s 6 plus 3” or “What’s 12 percent of 900,” it will open Calculator, input the equation, and show you the solution. However, if you want to multiply the answer by 3, you’ll need to start a new equation. It doesn’t understand what to do when you say, “Times 3” or “Multiply that by 3.” It doesn’t get conversions either. If you ask how many pints are in a cup, it will take you to the conversion section of the Calculator, but after asking what you want to convert, it will say, “Turns out I’m not able to do that.” But it shouldn’t be too long before it can.

Bixby Vision: Bixby Vision has been live since the Galaxy S8 debuted, and Bixby Voice doesn’t add much to enhance it. It does, however, make it easier to use. You can say, “Open Bixby Vision,” or “Search Bixby Vision,” and the Vision-enabled camera will open. Or you can say, “Translate this text” or “Show nearby restaurants,” and it will launch the appropriate section of Bixby Vision. But you’ll still need to interact with the screen to find things. And you need to be specific. If you ask something general like, “What is this?” or “How much does this cost?” Bixby isn’t smart enough to trigger Vision to find the answer.

Settings: Bixby Voice really shines when it comes to the Settings app. You can toggle and tweak all sorts of settings on your Galaxy S8 using Bixby, from turning off W-Fi, to turning on the flashlight, to raising the brightness. You can also say things like, “Turn on power-saving mode,” “How much data have I used this month,” and “Change the ,” and Bixby will take you to the proper screen and perform the action. It’ll even display your IMEI number if you ask. I tried dozens of queries and couldn’t find a settings command that it didn’t understand. It’s 100 percent Bixby’s strongest suit.

Phone/Contacts: Bixby Voice works as you’d expect when it comes to making calls. Say something like, “Call mom on mobile” and it’ll start a phone call. For incoming calls, you can say, “Accept” or “Decline,” though it’s just as easy to tap the screen. You can also easily add a contact or see someone’s info just by asking. You can say, “Block the last number,” which is helpful for spam calls, or “Show missed calls” to see what you missed. You can also ask Bixby to block a specific number or person, open the dialer, or turn off the ringer.

Check your history: If you want to see the most recent things you’ve asked Bixby to do, you can find it on your personalized Bixby page. Go to Bixby Home, tap the overflow menu, and select My Bixby. That’s where you’ll see your activity, as well as a few settings shortcuts and tutorials. It appears to keep a running list of every , so you can scroll through your whole conversation history to see how far it’s come.

Set up quick commands: When you first start using Bixby, it will prompt you to use pretty specific commands, like “Open phone and call Chris.” But as you use it, you’ll quickly discover that it can understand shortcuts like, “Call Chris,” or “Message Mom,” too.

Additionally, you can add shortcuts to specific commands to cut down on what you need to say. After you ask it to do something, you’ll see an Add quick command option below your request. Tap it and you can give Bixby an alternative string for that command. For older queries, you’ll need to hit up your conversation history. Go to My Bixby, tap Conversations, and you’ll see a Suggest another phrase button below each prior request. Tap the one you want and you’ll be able to type out a new way to say it.

Enable dictation: Bixby Voice will transcribe your words, but only when using the Samsung Keyboard.

Inside the Hello Bixby settings you’ll find a Dictation on keyboard toggle. Turn it on and Bixby will transcribe your words on command whenever you’re using the keyboard. You can activate it by either holding down the Bixby key or pressing the microphone key on the keyboard. But you’ll need to use the Samsung Keyboard for now. To switch, press the keyboard icon at the right of the navigation bar.


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