Bixby Adds Indian English Dialect and Localized Features
Samsung has updated its Bixby voice assistant with new features centered around India, including an Indian version of English. The upgraded Bixby 3.0 brings support for Indian English and India-specific responses to the Samsung Galaxy S21, Galaxy A52, and Galaxy A72 for now, with more devices and features to follow.
Owners of the Galaxy devices can find the option for “English (India)” in their settings and should get a Bush notification from Samsung when it is available on their device. Once activated, Bixby is supposed to more quickly and accurately recognize Indian names and locations. Bixby will also understand more of the Hindi vocabulary commonly used in India to augment English into what is often called Hinglish, frequently the words for food and activities.
“Bixby dons a new avatar for Indian users with the introduction of “English (India)” capability. In its new & improved Indian English avatar, Bixby now has the capability to understand Indian Names, Places, Relationships, Contents, Recipes and a lot more,” Samsung explained in announcing the update. “Bixby can assist you with a number of things throughout your typical day – Start Yoga timer for your daily yoga routine, check weather for the day in your city (Bengaluru), Call Maa or Bhaiya on your way to work, sharpen your culinary skills with the recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala. All you have to do is just ask Bixby!”
Along with the Indian-specific improvements, Bixby also allows users to connect phone numbers with someone based on their relationship to you. So, instead of asking Bixby to call your relative by name, you could simply tell Bixby to “call my brother” or “call my husband.” The user simply needs to fill in the person’s contact card with the chosen relationship title. Bixby can also guide users to set it up by voice. If asked to call “my aunt” or “my best friend,” Bixby will ask who that is and set up the link to their legal name. You can see how it works in the images to the right.
The improvements and expanded capabilities are part of Samsung’s larger program of improvements for Bixby. That process accelerated last year after the major overhaul of Bixby’s interface. The voice now runs without filling up Galaxy smartphone screens and is able to suggest ideas culled from trends and previous user activity. Those suggestions are also now localized for Indian users. The investment in localizing Bixby and pushing for new features makes the feverish rumors that Samsung planned to drop Bixby in favor of Google Assistant seem even less likely.
Though those rumors have mostly faded, many saw Bixby’s doom last summer. Samsung shutting down Bixby Vision and reassigning the Bixby developer marketing team to other areas, as well as the departure of Adam Cheyer, Viv Labs co-founder and Samsung vice president leading Bixby development; all seemed to point in that direction. Still, Samsung’s litany of Bixby updates tells a different story. Samsung worked to expand Bixby to older Galaxy smartphones that had previously used the now-shuttered S Voice digital assistant, added celebrity voices in Korea, rolled out the bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live earbuds to take advantage of Bixby, and even integrated with Netflix. For now, Bixby’s future seems secure.