THEY SAY keep your friends close and your enemies closer, which is a maxim Samsung seems to have swallowed as its said it's open to working with Google to make its Bixby virtual assistant better.
Now the popular opinion, and one we share, is that Bixby is a bit naff despite Sammy's best efforts and the Google Assistant is the best artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant out there, closely followed by Amazon's Alexa, then Microsoft's Cortana, and Apple's Siri is somewhere at the back of the bus licking windows.
Bixby hasn't really been around enough in the UK at least to have had a fighting chance, but according to the Korean Herald, when asked about Bixby at a conference at IFA 2018, Samsung's consumer electronics CEO Kim Hyun-suk noted the company is open to letting Google have a search around in Bixby.
"Samsung is developing its own voice assistant, Bixby, but we could consider various [forms] of collaboration with Google in the field," he said. "For example, we would call up Bixby, but it could lead us to one of Google's services, like Google Map."
"Each company has areas they particularly excel in, and collaboration is essential for perfect voice control," Kim noted. "Samsung is a company that sells around 500 million units of devices worldwide every year, and we can use this as our bargaining power to negotiate the level of cooperation with AI leaders like Google."
Given Google knows its onions when it comes to AI tech, Samsung could choose worse tech firms to work with.
But while this is all purely academic, there's a chance that collaborating with Google could see Bixby get tied up in Google services rather than remaining more service agnostic. And that could turn Bixby into essentially the Google Assistant with different clothes.
That would be a bit disappointing, as the Google Assistant already comes bake into Samsung flagships phones like the Galaxy S9, so Bixby needs to offer something different to warrant its place.
But this is all speculation and Samsung could simply use Google to make Bixby more capable while also retaining some of its Samsung smart home and fitness related features, which we'd say is one of the ways Bixby at least attempts to stand out from the virtual assistant pack. µ
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