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Samsung Bixby Voice: How to set up and use the Galaxy S8 assistant


Samsung has finally rolled out Bixby Voice on the Galaxy S8. Here’s everything you need to know to get started.
It’s been a long time coming, but Bixby has finally found its voice. Samsung has begun pushing out the final piece of its AI package, Bixby Voice, to all Galaxy S8 phones in more than 200 countries and territories. Before long, millions of people will be saying, “Hi Bixby” to summon the new assistant—though Bixby still only supports English and Korean despite the worldwide rollout.
Like all of Samsung’s updates, Bixby Voice will be a staggered release that will vary depending on your carrier. Once it’s available, your phone should alert you to the change, but there are a couple of ways you can check to see of it’s been pushed to your handset.
You should see a Bixby Voice icon on the Bixby Home screen. If you don’ t, head over to the About page to see if an update is waiting.
To start using Bixby, swipe over to the Bixby Home screen and it should walk you through the setup process, which is pretty simple. In the screens that follow, you’ ll practice saying, “Hi Bixby, ” and try out a few commands. Additionally, there are a few general options in the Bixby Home Settings menu, including background color, feedback sounds, speaking style, and notifications.
Bixby Voice only works with Samsung apps at launch, but more are on the way.
At launch, Bixby will only work with a handful of Samsung’s own apps:
At launch, Bixby is only designed to work with the apps above, but Samsung is looking to bring Bixby Voice to more apps quickly, including some popular third-party apps. The Bixby Labs tab in the Home Settings shows you what apps are in development and lets you opt in to test them. Bixby Labs already includes some intriguing upcoming apps, including Instagram, YouTube, Play Music, Maps, Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Twitter.
There are two ways to summon Bixby. You can say, “Hi Bixby” or you can press and hold the phone’s side button. A small blue circle will appear in the left corner of the screen ready to receive your request. Just know that the side button works like a walkie-talkie, so you’ ll need to keep it pressed until you finish your command.
When you summon Bixby it will appear as a small blue icon on your home screen.
Sort of. You can summon Bixby on the lock screen by either pressing the button or saying “Hi Bixby” like usual. However, you’ ll need to unlock your phone before it can actually perform your request.
Yes! When you summon Bixby you’ ll see a Full Screen button to the right. Tap it and Bixby will expand to fill the whole display. Then select the Search Commands field in the center and you’ ll be able to type to Bixby instead of talk to it.
Samsung offers a handy list of questions for each of the Bixby Voice-enabled apps.
As you use Bixby you’ ll advance through its levels and unlock feaures.
Samsung has gamified Bixby Voice to encourage people to use it. As you level up, you’ ll unlock features (these seem to just be background colors for now) . You can track your level on the My Bixby page.
While you’ ll need to use Samsung’s apps to take advantage of Bixby at launch, there’s a lot you can do with them. Here are some examples:
You can launch any app with Bixby just by saying “Open” and the app name. Or you can say, “Open Chrome as a pop-up” to enter that mode. You also can say, “Take a screenshot” to capture what’s on your screen, or “Close recent apps” to clear out your carousel. Basically, if your S8 can do it, there’s a good chance Bixby can assist.
Ask Bixby to take a selfie, and it will open the camera app and flip to the front camera, with a countdown timer that gives you three seconds to perfect your pout before the shutter snaps. You can also say things like, “Take a picture with the rear camera, ” “Turn the flash off, ” or “Turn off HDR, ” and it will oblige. And when you’ re in the camera app, you can say, “Hi Bixby, take a picture” and it will capture the moment.
You can use Bixby Voice to calculate simple equations. If you say, “What’s 6 plus 3” or “What’s 12 percent of 900, ” it will open Calculator, input the equation, and show you the solution. However, if you want to multiply the answer by 3, you’ ll need to start a new equation. It doesn’ t understand what to do when you say, “Times 3” or “Multiply that by 3.” It doesn’ t get conversions either. If you ask how many pints are in a cup, it will take you to the conversion section of the Calculator, but after asking what you want to convert, it will say, “Turns out I’ m not able to do that.” But it shouldn’ t be too long before it can.
Bixby Vision has been live since the Galaxy S8 debuted, and Bixby Voice doesn’ t add much to enhance it. It does, however, make it easier to use. You can say, “Open Bixby Vision, ” or “Search Bixby Vision, ” and the Vision-enabled camera will open. Or you can say, “Translate this text” or “Show nearby restaurants, ” and it will launch the appropriate section of Bixby Vision. But you’ ll still need to interact with the screen to find things. And you need to be specific. If you ask something general like, “What is this?” or “How much does this cost?” Bixby isn’ t smart enough to trigger Vision to find the answer.
Bixby Voice really shines when it comes to the Settings app. You can toggle and tweak all sorts of settings on your Galaxy S8 using Bixby, from turning off W-Fi, to turning on the flashlight, to raising the brightness. You can also say things like, “Turn on power-saving mode, ” “How much data have I used this month, ” and “Change the wallpaper, ” and Bixby will take you to the proper screen and perform the action. It’ ll even display your IMEI number if you ask. I tried dozens of queries and couldn’ t find a settings command that it didn’ t understand. It’s 100 percent Bixby’s strongest suit.
Bixby Voice works as you’ d expect when it comes to making calls. Say something like, “Call mom on mobile” and it’ ll start a phone call. For incoming calls, you can say, “Accept” or “Decline, ” though it’s just as easy to tap the screen. You can also easily add a contact or see someone’s info just by asking.

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