The Visual Search feature of Bixby — Samsung’s AI assistant that ships alongside the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus — is powered by Amazon’s proprietary technology, the Seattle-based tech company revealed in an email sent to members of the press on Thursday. The solution that’s integrated into Samsung’s new pair of high-end Android smartphones is the same one that was featured in some of Amazon’s previous products, but the launch of the Galaxy S8 lineup marks the first time this technology is available outside of Amazon’s ecosystem, the company said.
Users interested in trying out Bixby’s Amazon-powered Visual Search functionality can do so by launching the default Camera app on their Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8 Plus and enabling its Bixby mode. From there, all they have to do is point the camera of the device at a product or a product’s barcode and tap the shopping cart icon that appears below the image. This will prompt a visual search that — if successful — will list the product a user has searched for on Amazon, making it easy for them to restock that same item, the eCommerce giant revealed. The functionality is compatible with Amazon’s 1-Click Ordering feature and can also present product reviews, which should facilitate the process of deciding on a seller. Bixby’s Visual Search is based on the same technology that Amazon first commercialized eight years ago when it updated its app with a Camera Search feature, the Seattle-based firm said. As the framework behind this solution keeps evolving, Bixby’s scanning capabilities might become more capable in the future.
The revelation that one of Bixby’s flagship functionalities relies on Amazon’s technology marks the second collaboration that Samsung and Amazon announced in the last 24 hours. Earlier today, the two companies debuted HDR10+, a new TV standard meant to enhance the viewing experience of Amazon Prime Video subscribers and owners of Samsung’s QLED TVs. Regarding Bixby itself, Samsung’s latest digital companion won’t support voice interaction once the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 officially launch tomorrow. Instead, the South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer will only release that functionality in the coming weeks through an OTA update, the company said earlier this month, without clarifying on the reasons for the delay.