5 Of The Most Useful Bixby Tricks Samsung Galaxy Users Should Know

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Samsung's Bixby feature has been a useful resource included in the brand's phones since 2017. It launched alongside a dedicated Bixby button on the Samsung Galaxy S8 (via The Verge). However, the initial version of the tool was late to be introduced in full, and Samsung users didn't widely adopt the voice command feature, leading Samsung to shed the dedicated side button in later versions of the Galaxy phones.

Still, Bixby has seen quite the transformation since its somewhat underwhelming launch. In its current format, Bixby can do a variety of unique things that other voice assistants simply aren't capable of. This places Samsung firmly in the pole position when it comes to mainstream mobile devices that feature this kind of plugin. The Siri application remains a quality but inferior option for those looking for the best voice-activated mobile assistant, and Google Assistant has faced major setbacks in the past, to say the least.

Even as the Bixby feature remains ahead of the pack, many users aren't taking full advantage of all that the tool offers. Users will find a rich environment of existing capabilities that Samsung's Bixby can provide with a simple exploration of the application.

Traditional information and hands free operation

The most apparent offering from Bixby is the traditional information that a voice assistant can provide. Bixby will read out the weather, relay information in your text messages or emails, and offer guidance on local restaurants, phone numbers of local businesses, and general direction details that all other virtual, voice-activated assistants can provide.

Samsung notes that many of these features exist within a tool suite called Bixby alarm. You can set your phone to provide a variety of key data points to start your day at a preset time. Instead of setting an alarm to wake you at the anointed time, you can engage your phone to chime an alarm tone and then read out selected information. This can be a more enriching morning routine and add something new that gives you key details on the happenings that affect your life.

The news readout feature has been something that other voice assistants have offered in the past (and still do), but with the Bixby alarm setting activated you'll get this influx of news, weather, and other pertinent information as a standard feature rather than having to ask the device to play your morning readout every day.

Modes and Routines

Even the most hardcore Bixby users may not fully comprehend the capabilities of the newly adapted Modes and Routines offered by Samsung. Bixby's Modes and Routines can be set up as workflow amplifiers across virtually all segments of your daily life and habits. Samsung notes that you can set behaviors to begin when you get to work, changes in accessibility to help you get a good night's sleep (and perhaps even block certain notifications while allowing emergency contact through unhindered), and much more.

What's more, Bixby actively 'learns' while you use it. This allows the feature to get better at predicting your needs and responding accordingly. You can set the feature to launch your chosen map application when a Bluetooth connection is made with your car or reduce the notification chime to the vibrate setting when you physically arrive at your office so that the ring won't disturb you or your colleagues.

With the Modes and Routines that Bixby can perform, you can set your phone to do a wide variety of intricate tasks automatically and without you having to think about them. An avid moviegoer, for instance, could set the locations of their favorite theaters as zones to enable the Do Not Disturb settings, and read out local movie times in the morning on a Saturday, or provide directions to work that avoid traffic and hazards without having to lift a finger.

Bixby Vision

Bixby Vision is a core feature for those with vision impairments (via Samsung). It helps identify places, products, and more with the help of artificial intelligence and the phone's built-in camera apparatus. Bixby Vision is a key feature for those with vision problems, but it's also a functionality enhancer for people seeking all manner of helpful features that their phone can provide.

For instance, Bixby Vision can be used to identify brands or products from a photograph. This makes shopping for loved ones a much easier task. Christmas presents or birthday gifts don't require the same back and forth with friends or family members to figure out what a person likes or the kind of clothes they wear. Instead, a few photos of related items can give you a clear picture of the perfect gift for that special someone.

Another important addition that Bixby Vision adds to its functionality is a translation service (via Lifewire). Taking a picture of a menu, sign, or any other text that's in another language is all it takes to get quick translations for improved conversation, understanding, or even safety. This is an amazing feature that Samsung users can take advantage of while on vacation abroad. Instead of bringing a phrasebook or sinking hours upon hours of your free time into a language learning app that may not provide any tangible results, the use of Bixby Vision can help you navigate the streets, markets, and restaurants of a foreign place with little effort.

Bixby Voice

Bixby Voice provides audible information from your phone. Unlike the simple news or weather readouts that you can set up with Bixby and other voice assistants, the Voice feature can be used to read text messages, emails, and more. Bixby can be programmed to read a single message, or delve deeper, relaying the information from your last 20 messages back to back. This is great for reviewing the context of a conversation and keeping up to date with recent happenings among your friends or family.

But this isn't the only thing that Bixby voice excels at. You can use the voice commands to have your phone upload photos to Instagram, play selected music from Spotify or videos from YouTube, create a contact, or rate an Uber Driver (via MakeUseOf). The voice command provided by the Bixby platform far exceeds the capabilities of a more traditional voice assistant and allows you to conduct much of the business you might use your phone for with just your voice. This is an essential feature for those with dexterity issues or vision impairments. It's also an immense value addition for those seeking increased productivity with their mobile device simply for the sake of it.

In-app controls

As alluded to in some of the previous Bixby features, the monolith that sets Bixby apart from the competition is its ability to control the functionality of other apps, according to MakeUseOf. This isn't a feature that other voice-activated mobile assistants offer on a large scale. Amazon Alexa can make calls to saved Alexa devices or play your selected Spotify playlists, but the advanced functionality beyond these features is limited. Your Samsung phone has a far expanded horizon of potential when it comes to voice-activated controls. Samsung's Bixby can tap into dozens of applications and offers control functions within all of them. The tool can be used in coordination with nearly all of the functions the phone's infrastructure provides, meaning it can be used hands-free across traditional and non-traditional voice control utilities.

In-app controls set the Bixby platform apart because it increases the number of ways in which you can sap productivity out of the device by an order of magnitude. By allowing for voice commands and enhanced operational capacity across the apps you use the most, you won't have to settle for an awkward crossover between the use of your voice assistant and a hands-on approach to certain features that simply aren't supported. The need to use the phone in both realms to gain comprehensive utility from the device is what makes up the primary limitation of a voice assistant. Bixby's ability to work past that puts it a step ahead.