Bixby has been long criticised for not being as feature-rich as the Google Assistant or Alexa, but Samsung's home-grown virtual assistant seems to have picked up a new trick today. It can now listen to the music you're playing and attempt to identify it much like the Pixel-exclusive Now Playing and Shazam. First spotted by Sammobile, the update appears to be a recent one as I just received one for Bixby (and related services) on my Galaxy S9+. I'm going to be honest, I had zero expectations from it, but it managed to identify all the three songs I threw at it.
Bixby does a surprisingly good job
I started with Queen's Brighton Rock as it is a somewhat popular song, followed by a slightly lesser-known track. Both tracks were, however, available on major streaming services such as Spotify. The third track is an old song from a long-forgotten, English Prog Rock band and Bixby managed to identify it, much to my surprise. The song in question has little over 4,000 plays on YouTube on a five-year-old upload. It takes Bixby approximately 10-15 seconds to identify a track—much slower than Shazam—but I'm not complaining. I'm going to continue testing it with some more less-known music (both old and new).
If you want to try it out, just fire up Bixby Voice by long pressing the dedicated key or by waking it up by saying ‘Hi Bixby’, then ask ‘What track is this’ or ‘What song is this’ while the music is playing. It is unclear what is powering Bixby's newfound superpower, but it definitely doesn't have anything to do with Shazam, given the long load time. It doesn't seem to have trouble identifying relatively popular songs, which is what most people will use it for anyway. Is Bixby finally relevant again? Probably not. But this is one of the features that I use a lot and I'm open to using it as a full-time replacement.