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Bixby gets upgraded on Verizon Galaxy S8s, but it’s still pretty useless

Bixby gets upgraded on Verizon Galaxy S8s, but it’s still pretty useless


The missing shopping feature gets added to Bixby Vision

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The camera-based shopping feature of Samsung’s Bixby digital assistant has started rolling out to Verizon versions of the Galaxy S8. Almost two weeks after finding out that Verizon variants of the phone were missing the Amazon-powered point-and-shop feature, today users can tap the Bixby Vision icon in the camera app to trigger an update from the Galaxy Apps store.

The rollout brings the Verizon version of Bixby up to the same level of functionality found on other networks, which means it’s still pretty limited. In the camera app, Bixby Vision can be used to translate languages or search for images of whatever object is in the viewfinder — basically nothing you can’t already do with other apps. And Bixby is basically nonexistent outside the camera app — regardless of which carrier you’re on — because Samsung hasn’t yet enabled the voice command feature in the United States (though that feature went live in South Korea this week).

The slow drip of Bixby functionality is jarring because of how much Samsung boasted about the digital assistant before the S8 launch. “Everything you can do with a touch command, you can do with a voice command when using a Bixby-enabled application,” Dr. Injong Rhee, Samsung’s head of research and development for software and services, said in an interview in March. That dream is still far from realized, though, and in the meantime developers are trying to find ways to let S8 owners use the dedicated Bixby button for other purposes.