Google Wear OS Will Support Samsung Bixby
Google’s Wear OS will open the door to voice assistants besides Google Assistant for the first time, according to a tweet on a 9to5 Google story by prominent Google leaker Snoopytech. Samsung Bixby will be an option on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series as part of the newly revamped Wear OS 3 and unified Google and Samsung wearables platform.
Google Assistant has been the exclusive Wear OS voice assistant up until now, with a long press on the crown of the watch activating it on smartwatches running it. That appears to be changing as Google and Samsung both prepare for the next generation of smartwatches. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 will run the new Wear OS 3 in tandem with Samsung’s new One UI Watch design.
The watch will be the first example of a new shared platform from Google and Samsung capable of running apps for either system, both from Google and third-party developers. The new platform is also supposed to improve the watch’s efficiency, making it run programs more quickly while extending battery life. The details of how the two voice assistants will share one watch haven’t been revealed, though it’s likely wearers will have to pick one or the other and deliberately switch, rather than having both accessible at the same time.
Sharing Smart Devices
The shared smartwatch is a logical extension of the deepening collaboration between Google and Samsung of later. Google Nest began integrating with Samsung SmartThings was last year, not long after Google Assistant became accessible on Samsung smart TVs and SmartThings added a Google Nest app for its platform several months ago, giving extensive but incomplete control over Nest devices to SmartThings users. Nest can integrate devices certified in the Works With SmartThings (WWST) program. The certification also streamlines, ensuring the apps meet the tightened safety and quality standards Google introduced for voice-enabled apps in March.
Samsung has been inviting more than Google Assistant into its network. Though not as tightly linked, Alexa is available for the first time in a Samsung smart fridge. Of course, one question about the alternate assistant is if Bixby will be the only one to join over time. Google’s purchase of Fitbit came after Alexa was already available on some of the fitness devices and smartwatches. Though Google has added Google Assistant and even made it audible from the devices, the company has left Alexa alone on them for now. With so many voice AI companies touting interoperability in one form or another, it will be worth watching to see ust how interwoven the various voice assistants end up becoming in the growing world of smart devices.