Bixby vs. Google Assistant

Google Assistant dominates at home, while Bixby is great for outdoors

Google Home and Bixby on Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Google Assistant and Samsung's Bixby are arguably the two top Android smart assistants, performing tasks and answering questions for users with Android devices. We took a look at both to see which one stacks up best for your smart-home compatibility and hands-free needs.

Overall Findings

Google Assistant

  • Functions centered around Google's smart-home products.

  • Many non-Google smart-home devices support Google Assistant.

  • Compatible with many popular media services.

  • Control Google Assistant from the Google Home app.

  • Enabled in Android Auto.

  • Functions not as likely to be needed when away from home.

Samsung's Bixby

  • Many Android smartphones have a dedicated Bixby button.

  • Many functions specific to Samsung devices and apps.

  • Able to open apps on some Samsung devices.

  • Voice commands can control functions within certain apps.

  • Works with Bixby Home to review content from certain apps.

  • Bixby Vision translates languages and identifies places and things.

  • Functionality being expanded to Samsung Smart TVs.

On Android-powered mobile devices, both Google Assistant and Samsung's Bixby accept voice commands to perform a variety of functions. Both have many similar smart-assistant features, but while Google Assistant is uniquely integrated with the Google Home ecosystem, Samsung's Bixby has some great features when you're out and about.

Access Google Assistant the voice command OK Google, or Hey Google, and address Bixby with Hey Bixby.

Smart Home Integration: Google Wins, Bixby's Gaining

Google Assistant

  • Fully entwined in Google Home universe.

  • Many smart-home devices support Google Assistant.

  • Control all Google Assistant-enabled devices from Google Home app.

Bixby

  • Tied to Samsung's SmartThings hub.

  • Will have functionality with the Samsung Galaxy Home speaker.

  • Limited to the Samsung universe.

Many Google Assistant functions are centered around smart-home products, including Google Home and Google Home Hub. There are also hundreds of smart-home devices from various brands that support Google Assistant, such as smart speakers, smart displays like the Lenovo Smart Display, and smart security cameras. Once set up with your account and internet connection, use any of these devices with voice commands via Google Assistant.

While many smart-home devices come with their own apps to control settings and individual functions, control all Google Assistant-enabled devices from the Google Home app, making it easy to connect, disconnect, and troubleshoot devices in one location.

When it comes to smart-home integration, Bixby is tied to Samsung’s SmartThings hub, which lets users control smart appliances in their homes through a single mobile app. Ask Bixby to show you your devices, add devices, or search for new devices. Tell Bixby to set the temperature on your thermostat or play the next song on your playlist. You can even talk to your smart refrigerator with Bixby.

When the long-awaited Samsung Galaxy Home speaker arrives (it was announced in 2018 but has been delayed), Bixby will have even more functionality.

Key Features: More Features Always Being Added

Google Assistant

  • Compatible with many popular media services.

  • Use Google Home app to control devices if you're too far away for voice commands.

  • Embedded in Android Auto.

Bixby

  • Full capabilities available on the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S9, plus the Galaxy Note 9

  • Handsets have a dedicated Bixby button.

  • Bixby Vision offers unique features.

Google Assistant is a more evolved technology, but Bixby is improving rapidly.

Google Assistant is compatible with most popular media services, letting users enjoy music, TV shows, podcasts, and audiobooks just by asking the Google Assistant.

When you're away from home or too far away to make voice commands, use the Google Home app to control devices. You can also connect different services to the Google Home app to make your voice commands more granular.

If you have Google Chromecast and Google Home, link your Netflix account to the Google Home app and use voice commands to start shows and movies without manually casting the Netflix app from your phone.

In addition to smartphones and home devices, Google Assistant is also enabled in Android Auto, which is becoming a standard for many vehicles. The smart-car software is compatible with cars by Nissan, Honda, Aston Martin, and Lamborghini, among many others.

As for Bixby, much of its functionality resides on smartphones. Bixby’s full capabilities are available on the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S9, plus the Galaxy Note 9. Limited capabilities are available on other Samsung Galaxy devices. These handsets have a dedicated Bixby button, granting users easy access to the assistant. While Samsung is opening up Bixby to greater compatibility with third-party apps, many functions of the assistant are specific to Samsung devices and apps.

Other Bixby functions include Bixby Vision, which enables users to identify places and things in their vicinity, translate languages, and scan QR codes. Scan documents and turn them into PDFs, as well.

Hands-Free Accessibility

Google Assistant

  • Voice dictation.

  • Many accessibility functions.

  • Users may have fewer reasons to go hands-free when they're out and about.

Bixby

  • Good at executing phone operation voice commands.

  • Voice commands control functions within certain apps.

While Google Assistant for phones is powerful and functional, users may have fewer reasons to go hands-free when they're out and about. Some common uses for Google Assistant on phones include voice dictation for creating and sending text messages and emails. Still, many users operate their smartphones with their hands as a primary function.

That said, Google Assistant functions are available for users who require them, including those with accessibility needs; Google has touched a lot of bases when it comes to identifying the specific hands-free needs of its users.

Voice commands are Bixby's strong suit. It's good at executing commands that operate the phone. For example, if you want to send an email, instruct Bixby to open your mail app and send an email to someone.

Open apps with the Hey Bixby voice command, and even use voice commands to control functions within certain apps, such as Google Maps, Uber, and Expedia.

Final Verdict

Google's ecosystem is well-established, and while Samsung's ecosystem is still a work in progress, it is improving rapidly. When the Galaxy Home smart speaker arrives on the scene, things may even up for Bixby and Google Assistant. For now, however, Bixby has less compatibility with third-party hardware and services, so Google Assistant gets the edge.