Is Bixby Better Than Alexa? (Picking the right Assistant)

When we had the first encounter of Bixby on Galaxy S8+, the experience was like a waste of time. Though the Bixby still has some of its flaws, which I will cover here, it is quite impressive for a first generation product and does a few things better than Siri and Google Assistant.

Unlike Alexa, Bixby is designed to work primarily on your smartphone, where it will help you to get things done in a fast way. Bixby is designed to complete tasks when you issue it with a voice command. Bixby is better than Alexa because it can also identify objects that you point your smartphone camera at, and it also gives information about landmarks it recognizes.

There is also the Bixby news feed that is similar to Flipboard, and like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, Bixby is designed to control gadgets and appliances that are around your smart home.

I am going to share with you everything you need to know about Bixby and Alexa relate, with also other voice assistants.

Samsungs assistant still only lags behind Google Assistant, so does every other assistant though it does not have the breadth of core competencies that the assistant has nor the wealth f third party skills offered by the Alexa ecosystem.

The capability of Bixby when it comes to Q&A is often surprisingly very good.

Currently, Samsung’s Bixby personal assistant comes with the Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung  Galaxy S8 Plus, and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

Bixby Voice

This is where Bixby aims to simplify the increasingly complex Samsung menu system, and it flexes its context-aware muscles, so if you are looking at an image on your smartphone, press the Bixby button and say “use this as my wallpaper,” the assistant will do that knowing that “this” is the image.

Bixby can also mirror content from your smartphone to a Samsung TV on the same wifi network when you say to it, “show this on my TV.” This is, in a way, telling us that Samsung has filled its smartphones with too many features, so many that it has now developed AI that will help you to use it.

Bixby Vision

Just like th services that are offered by Google, Bixby’s vision also attempts to add context to objects and scenes that are shown to your smartphone camera.bixby can identify food items and also bottles of wine and offer you places where you can go and buy them online.

It also recognizes famous landmarks and provides information on them. Bixby can also spot text and let you copy and paste a menu in a restaurant.

Bixby Home

This is a news feed that is similar to those that are offered by the Flipboard app and BlinkFeed on HTC handsets. The Bixby home site permanently on the left-hand side of the flagship Galaxy handsets.

Bixby aims to tailor the news feed based on your interests, but there is nothing that cannot be done with other apps.

Devices Bixby Works With

Bixby was launched on Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones, and it was also included on Galaxy Note8.

There is so much that Samsung has put into developing the Bixby assistant, and we expect it to remain part of its handsets and future devices for the next years to come.

Apps Bixby Works With

Whereas Siri works as a standalone service on the iPhone, Samsung wants to make sure that Bixby adds value to every app on your phone.  This is embedding the assistant deeply into every app, which is also a challenge.

Bixby works best in Samsungs applications, which include phone, messages, gallery, internet, camera, weather, contacts, reminder, and settings. 

Bixby works in a limited capacity in other third-party apps like Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, twitter, youtube, Gmail, google maps, uber, and PayPal.

Languages Bixby Can Speak

when Bixby arrived in 2017, it could only speak in Korean; there was not the English version available by then. It was until July that the customers in the US and UK could get the English version. There are no other languages available now.

In comparison to Siri, which can spaek in 21 languages.

Bixby 2.0 and controlling the smart home

Samsung also announced Bixby 2.0 in October 2017. Although it has not been made available, Bixby 2.0 is meant to work across multiple devices and become a rival smart home assistant to Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.

Samsung says that Bixby will be found in TVs, home speakers, smartphones, and refrigerators plus a range of other smart home gadgets.

Considering that Alexa and Google assistants are already in this space, Samsung has some catching up they have to do if Bixby is to control our smart homes in the near future.

How Does Bixby Compare to Alexa and Other Assistants

All of these smart assistants have a lot of features in common and also most functionalities and capabilities. They can be accessed with the press of a button as most of them are built into their operating systems.

They can also perform and access web searches, and they also have base apps or their dedicated home screen pages that show additional information like weather, reminders, news, and more.

Unsurprisingly, each of these assistants works best when its within their own ecosystem.

For Google Assistant, it works best when it is with Google apps, Chromecast, googles home, and other Google devices.

Alexa, on the other hand, works best when it works with Amazon fire stick and echo devices, and that also applies to Siri.

If you are ensconced firmly in a particular ecosystem, your best bet is to stick to that ecosystem and the AI assistant that will work best with it. Siri does not work well with Gmail, Cortana does not play well with youtube whereas Google assistant does function across third-party apps, but you will get the best results when you use Google built-in apps like google play music and google keep.

On making sure we had the best results from all of them, we run them through a test.

Answering basic questions

When answering the simple questions that no AI should have difficulty in answering, all of the five assistants perf modes well, but Bixby struggles with direct command questions until it is provided with proper context.

However, if you realize that something is not working with Bixby, you can always ask it to perform a Google search with that question and piggyback off of Google’s excellent responses.

Performing simple tasks

These are tasks that are obvious, like setting a reminder, playing a song or video on youtube. None of these assistants had an issue while Bixby and Google assistant had no troubles. The others had issues due to lack of support through Alexa comes with youtube support with other amazon devices like Echo.

Bixby, Google Assistant, and Siri get the bonus points for being able to perform multiple tasks together like launching web browsers and opening a specif web page.

Navigating complex tasks

These are the hard mode kind of questions that require a third-party app integration of some type. This is the kind of functionality that will be expanded in the next few years with tasks like fitness tracking, ordering food, and downloading an app.

Bixby works with Philips hue lights, though, that requires a $50 Samsung smart hub for it to do so. This may not be a worthwhile investment if you are having just a few smart home devices.

The overall functionality if generally unstable or incomplete, but things are looking promising with all of the assistants.

Final thoughts

Google’s assistant is exceptional at the context, which is something the other assistants have a drawback on. They require that you get the command just right so that the task is completed. Google assistant is good at figuring out what you need, even if you ask it in different ways.

For, now, the Google assistant is the best all-round pick when compared to Bixby and Alexa. This is because it has so many features like ordering pizza, hailing uber, and casting a video though all these features will come to phones eventually.

Amazon Alexa is the most customizable of them all because it is quite basic out of the box, but you can install some additional skills which will increase the functionality.

Alexa also excels at gathering information over the conversation to complete a task. As far as pure functionality is concerned, then Alexa does more than all of them, and all the Alexa enabled devices to work incredibly well with one another.

The only bad thing is that there are not many devices that run Alexa.

Siri also performs surprisingly well. This shows that Apple has been doing a great job of keeping Siri competitive with the rest of the assistants.

Siri is the natural option for anyone that is in the Apple ecosystem as there are few folks that would switch from Android simply to get Siri.

Cortana’s biggest strength is in the fact that it is available everywhere, including Windows 10, iOS, Android, and even Xbox One. It is available on more devices than the rest of the assistants and does not have close competition.

Though it falls behind when it comes to third-party integration and with advanced tasks.

Bixby is the wild card that has done a surprisingly good job as it excels in the part of feeling like an actual personal assistant. Bixby even has the ability to emulate screen taps like an actual person, which allows it to interact with onscreen elements than any of the assistants.

8 Things That Bixby Does Better

Understanding natural language and executing complex commands

Bixby has the ability to understand and also execute complex commands better than any other assistant. You can ask it to cal contact using SIM 2, and it will do that for you. 

Hardware control

Though Siri and Google have some control over hardware, none of them enjoys integration as Bixby. Though you can use Google assistant to access generic settings like turning wifi on and off, for Bixby, you can command it to change the display mode to basic or access some features that are buried deep in the settings.

Better integrated with Apps.

Not only the hardware of the phone, but Bixby is integrated with a number of third-party apps. You can command it to open for you WhatsApp and send a message to a contact.

In-App Context

Bixby is not that good at understanding a conversation context; this is an area where Google’s assistant is leading in. But it is conscious of the app that you are using. This means that when you summon it from within youtube, it understands that the context is youtube for commands.

Custom commands

Bixby has the ability to understand and execute complex commands, but this does not mean that you give it the long phrases.

You can choose the commands you have used in the past or choose the existing Bixby commands.

Hardware key

There has been a lot of hate for the hardware of Bixby, but it is not hardware bloatware. It is a better way for summoning Bixby than using the ‘Hey Bixby’ voice prompt.

You can also press it, and it will seamlessly dictate text when the Samsung keyboard is open. I consider this as the biggest strength of Bixby.

Animations

Another thing that Bixby dos better than the rest of the assistants is animations and designs. The slick animations, Bixby logo, and everything else about it except Google Assistant works great.

Conclusion

Bixby is not still perfect, but it has potential, there are some areas that Bixby needs to catch up. It only understands English, and unlike Google assistant, it is not very good with Indian names and does not understand voice prompts as flawlessly as Google assistant does.

It does not work for translation, and it is slow and needs to understand the context better.

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SMART HOME GADGETS ARE MY THING! I’ve been building my smart home for a few years. I recently started thinking of everything that I’ve learned over these years and everything I wish I knew when I got started. I created this site to share with you all of the helpful tips I’ve come across. Hopefully, you will enjoy my posts and be a regular around here!

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