In brief: The Korean giant has been trying very hard to make Bixby more popular, but execution has been far from perfect. It’s now taking a small step in fixing that by providing a convenient way to discover and create simple voice commands that reduce the friction of having to open apps for frequently used functionality. If you live in the U.S. or South Korea, it's just a left swipe from the Bixby main screen.
Samsung today opened a dedicated app store for Bixby, allowing Galaxy users to discover new ways to enhance the digital assistant on their phone. It’s called the Bixby Marketplace, and it’s populated by something the company calls ‘capsules’ – they’re essentially shortcuts for accessing different functionality in your most used apps via voice commands.
The ‘Bixby capsules’ are similar to Alexa skills and Google Actions, and while they have been available for some time now, this is all about convenience. The marketplace is meant to organize them into categories and surface those more relevant to you as a user.
For example, if you’re a frequent user of Uber or other ridesharing apps, you can create a transportation capsule. Every time you ask Bixby for a ride, that request will go to your preferred service without having to mention it, which simplifies the interaction. This type of integration is available for many popular third-party apps such as Spotify, Yelp, NPR, YouTube and even Google Maps.
Samsung says the capsules are free and won’t show any visible ads, but hasn’t said anything about when they’ll be available on the Galaxy Home smart speaker. The company is hoping to earn more developer interest, but seeing as many people are dying to get rid of Bixby, we'll have to see how it manages to compete with Google's Assistant and Amazon's Alexa.