Is the Bixby Button Now a Google Assistant Button?

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Last spring after Samsung introduced its new virtual assistant Bixby, I expressed concerns that the new assistant wasn’t ready for prime time. It wasn’t, and millions of Galaxy S8s shipped without Bixby’s voice control feature even though the Bixby button remained on the device. I hypothesized that launching an incomplete Bixby could spell trouble for Samsung, especially considering that the Galaxy S8 was also launching with its rival, the Google Assistant. I wrote: “Customers could become loyal Google Assistants users, making Bixby an afterthought.” And according to a recent article by The Next Web, Galaxy S8 owners are making the switch to the Google Assistant – and even Bixby itself acknowledges it.

Google Assistant Over Samsung Bixby

The Next Web cited a recent thread in Reddit, where Samsung owners were reporting Bixby was recommending bxActions, an app that allows users to disable the dedicated Bixby button or to remap it to use with the Google Assistant. The Next Web provides this explanation:

“Given that the South Korean phone maker programmed Bixby to throw out suggestions based on usage patterns it accumulates over time, there is one quite sensible explanation to this unusual occurrence: So many S8 users were rushing to download bxActions that the smart assistant itself eventually felt compelled to suggest the app.”

These type of remapping apps began to pop up right after the Galaxy S8 shipped, but Samsung kept overwhelming them with various updates, making them useless. But this didn’t deter other remapping apps from continuously popping up. Now it seems like Bixby has accepted that if you can’t beat them, join them and is now even recommending the app to its users. As you can see below, Samsung customers are happier without Bixby. What’s worse for Samsung?Unhappy Galaxy S8 customers not using their voice assistant or happy customers using Google Assistant? Samsung appears to have chosen the latter – for now. Google must be pleased.