Samsung Announces Bixby will Get Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Play Integration
- At CES 2019 Samsung announced Bixby will be integrated to Samsung’s 2019 QLED and premium TV lineup in addition to smart appliances including refrigerators, washers, and air conditioners.
- Samsung announced plans to add Bixby to cars and robotics platforms through Samsung’s 2019 Digital Cockpit
- iHeartRadio, Uber, and Ticketmaster are now available on Bixby
- Bixby will soon have support for Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Play
- Samsung smart TVs will now support Google Assistant through all hardware platforms it is available on (think Google Home, a smart display, and third-party smart speakers).
Gadgets360 is reporting that Samsung’s Bixby will be making several new partnerships this year. At CES 2019, Samsung announced it will partner with Google to add Google applications support to Bixby, meaning that Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Play will be available on Bixby. Samsung will also integrate Google Assistant into some of its Smart TVs, and there are plans for using the Samsung 2019 Digital Cockpit in cars and robots too.
Of all of these activities, the most significant near-term impact is likely to be the integration with Google services. Bixby is coming to the market well behind other global competitors and the platform needs to quickly add features to catch up with rival offerings. Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Play will all add immediate heft to Bixby’s feature scope.
Samsung 2019 Digital Cockpit
The Samsung 2019 Digital Cockpit is an in-car infotainment system created in collaboration between Samsung and Harman that features Bixby. Harman is a Samsung company that designs and engineers connected products and solutions including connected car systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation solution, and connected services. Many car manufacturers have partnered with Harman, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Volkswagon to name a few. At CES 2019, the Samsung 2019 Digital Cockpit was displayed, with use of Bixby.
Bixby 2.0 is Making Strides
This news is designed to build momentum for the voice assistant on the heels of the release of Bixby 2.0 last fall when it said the voice assistant will be available on 500 million devices annually by 2020. Initially demonstrated in August, Bixby 2.0 is smarter, able to understand and maintain context as well as remember past behavior to make personalized suggestions. Bixby 2.0 then opened up the environment to developers, releasing a software developers kit (SDK) in addition to an application programming interface (API) in November. The SDK and API allow third-parties to integrate Bixby into other apps and design applications specifically for the personal digital assistant.
Bixby first appeared on Samsung’s mobile devices and the company even dedicated an entire button on Galaxy phones to activate the voice assistant. However, Bixby has not captured consumer enthusiasm or market share to date, only accounting for 4% of voice assistants used on U.S. smartphones according to a Voicebot.ai study in late 2018. In September, CEO of Samsung’s mobile division, DJ Koh told CNBC
“Opening the ecosystem in November, then this baby (Bixby) will grow. So I do not want to see just six months or nine months performance, no. Because this is like a long journey; it’s just starting because, with the new Bixby embedded in the Note 9, a new baby was born.”
These announcements of Bixby accessing Google services, appearing in more IoT devices, and collaboration with big-name third-party partners is a result of opening up the platform. In other words, Koh’s prediction was correct, the baby is beginning to grow up. Samsung is one of the few companies that can still succeed in this market even with a late market entry because of the scale of its global device distribution.