Mobile

Bixby update makes Samsung’s virtual assistant less annoying to use

In terms of popularity, Samsung’s Bixby assistant is closer to Microsoft’s Cortana than either Google Assistant or Alexa. Samsung had big plans for Bixby when it unveiled it back in 2017. The company even used to include a dedicated Bixby button on its flagship smartphones up until Galaxy Note 10 series. Despite Samsung’s best efforts, it didn’t exactly emerge as a real third alternative to Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa. However, Bixby still remains an integral part of Samsung’s mobile and IoT ecosystem, and Samsung is committed to keeping it alive. Earlier in April, Samsung rolled out a big update in the form of Bixby 3.0, which added support for Indian English and several other India-specific features. Now, it’s getting another update which further improves the user experience and makes the service a bit less annoying to use.

With the latest update (via SamMobile), Bixby no longer takes over your entire screen when showing results for your query. Results that don’t take up much space are shown in a compact card much like Google Assistant. Check out these after and before screenshots:

Bixby taking up full screen to show a simple result
Bixby after the new update showing results in a compact card

Bixby now also learns your preferences over time. If you have the “Personalised Bixby” option enabled, it will now show you personalized app-based hints when you summon the service.

One of the most annoying parts of Bixby is training the assistant to recognize your voice, which requires you to say out loud the hotword, Hi Bixby, fives times. Thankfully, the new update makes the training part completely optional, allowing new users to start using the Hi Bixby command right away.

Finally, on the main screen of Bixby, you’ll notice a new “Add Quick Commands to home” card. This lets you add a Quick Command icon to your home screen to make it easier for you to access your custom quick commands.

The new Bixby update has begun rolling out to supported Galaxy phones. If you have switched to using Google Assistant and feel like giving Bixby another go, head over to the Galaxy Store to grab the latest version.

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