If you’re a Samsung enthusiast and own one of the brand’s flagship smartphones from the past two years, you’re probably very familiar with the only hardware button on your device that you’re unlikely to use. For the uninitiated, that’d be the Bixby key – which summons the South Korean brand’s own digital assistant.
Since its debut aboard the Galaxy S8, Bixby has had an interesting start to life. Originally intended to give digital assistants a new lease on life, the service was designed to have deeper integrations with Samsung apps and in-app commands than its rivals. Unfortunately, it didn’t receive the most welcome reception, partly due to the fact that its handling of the English language was so poor that Samsung developed an in-app rewards feature to encourage consumers to refine its diction.
Over the past few years, Samsung has retained Bixby and its trademark button – though a new report from Bloomberg suggests that Google is now negotiating with the South Korean firm to prioritise the Google Assistant over Bixby itself. The move isn’t surprising, given that Samsung remains one of the leading Android device manufacturers worldwide. In the absence of the likes of Huawei (which itself cannot access Google services thanks to the US-China trade war), Google’s ability to promote the Assistant means keeping partners in its good graces.
Allegedly, the ongoing negotiations also reference re-asserting the Google Play Store over the Galaxy App Store, though Google’s official position on the matter still encourages Android device manufacturers to release their own app stores or collections.
It remains to be seen if Google can successfully woo Samsung – and whether any agreements might, in fact, see certain Google services re-prioritised aboard Samsung’s future devices.
What are your thoughts? Would you prefer to use any of Samsung’s services over Google’s? Let us know in the comments below.