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Samsung

When it bought Viv Labs last year, Samsung said it planned to make the company's voice-powered assistant a key part of its future.

Now, just ahead of next week's debut of the Galaxy S8, Samsung is offering mored details on Bixby, as the assistant is now known. The Korean electronics giant says that Bixby, unlike Apple's Siri or Google's Assistant will be able to tackle most anything a smartphone app as opposed to handling just a small subset of features.

"Bixby is at the heart of our software and services evolution as a company," Samsung R&D chief InJong Rhee said in a blog post on Monday. "As the Bixby ecosystem grows, we believe Bixby will evolve from a smartphone interface to an interface for your life."

Bixby will begin life handling tasks for Samsung's built-in apps for the S8, but will be added over time to other Samsung products, including TVs and appliances. Other app makers will also be able to allow Bixby to work with their apps.

Why it matters: Afrticial intelligence and voice-powered computing are seen as key areas for computing, not just for phones but also for all manner of devices. It also puts Samsung back in software competition with Google, an area where Samsung has not had much success.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
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Google's parent shuts down effort to deliver internet via balloons

Image: Loon

Alphabet is shutting down Loon, one of its "moonshots," which aimed to deliver internet service via high-altitude balloons.

Why it matters: The effort was one of several approaches designed to get high-speed connectivity to some of the world's most remote spots and proved useful in the aftermath of disasters that shut down traditional infrastructure.

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1 hour ago - World

What has and hasn't changed as Biden takes over U.S. foreign policy

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden swiftly recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate pact and the World Health Organization, but America's broader foreign policy is in a state of flux between the Trump and Biden eras.

Driving the news: One of the most striking moves from the Biden administration thus far was a show of continuity — concurring with the Trump administration's last-minute determination that China had committed "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead — Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: NYC postpones vaccine appointments following shipment delays — Private companies step in to fill vaccine logistics vacuum.
  4. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.