Samsung has started to officially release details about its Bixby artificial intelligent assistant, and as we learn more at how this Siri and Google Assistant competitor stacks up, there are indications that the company is leveraging the ecosystem to boost Bixby’s potential. In one instance with its visual search, Samsung is relying on the services of Pinterest’s Lens tool, the first time the social media company has powered hardware on a mobile device.
Bixby is more than just a voice-powered AI assistant, as Samsung touts the use of the camera as a gateway towards intelligence. The company claims that you can point the camera at an object - be it bottles of wine, a shirt, a landmark, a building, or whatever - and Bixby will display recommendations, additional contextual information, or even help you make a purchase. It's here where Pinterest's data and image recognition technology will be likely be beneficial.
“Soon you’ll be able to access billions of Pinterest ideas from every corner of your Galaxy S8,” wrote Andreas Lieber, Pinterest’s head of consumer business development. “Any new pic you snap with your camera, photo in your photo gallery, screenshot you take, images across the web in the Samsung Internet app … they’re all a jumping off point for finding related ideas on Pinterest, from recommendations for similar products to ways to bring the idea, recipe or style to life.”
Samsung has incorporated technology from Pinterest Lens, which launched in beta last month. The idea behind this tool was to identify objects that were captured with the camera and display search results with context about the environment those objects were in. And as Samsung has said repeatedly, Bixby is all about context, both within the apps where requests are made and with visual search to provide the best results.
This symbiotic relationship is advantageous to Samsung and Pinterest. The former gets access to a data set of more than 100 billion ideas curated from over 150 million people worldwide, while the latter gets prime placement within one of the top Android devices on the market, which could result in an increase in pins and ideas being added to Pinterest's database.
Using Pinterest Lens within Bixby's visual search isn't an exclusive deal, as Pinterest currently makes that feature available to anyone on iOS and Android devices outside the United States and in English. But it's significant in that it's part of the hardware instead of a standalone app that's needed.
Discovery of information is often reduced to typing in queries within search engines like Google. The experience Samsung hopes to achieve instead is one where a picture is worth more than a thousand words, and Pinterest Lens is the key. Instead of trying to fumble with a keyboard trying to describe what you'd like to find more information about, Bixby could simplify things by just having you snap a picture and instantly get the answer you're looking for.