Samsung has acquired an artificial intelligence startup in a bid to improve Bixby.
In an interview with The Investor, a Samsung official said that the company acquired 100 percent of the Egyptian startup Kngine after its venture capital arm Samsung Next invested in the company in 2014. The acquisition actually closed last year but Samsung didn't confirm the buy until recently. SamMobile earlier reported on the acquisition.
According to Kngine itself, it has built an artificial intelligence-based search engine that can search the Internet, documents, books, FAQs, and customer service logs to provide relevant information back to you. In a description outlined on the company's website, Kngine's technology is capable of understanding a person's query and breaking into down into smaller parts to get a sense of context. It then uses that information to check all of its sources and arrive at an answer.
Ultimately, Kngine aims at delivering "biologically plausible knowledge representations."
MORE: Galaxy Note 9 Will Have What Galaxy S9 Doesn't
The feature could be a boon for Bixby, which Samsung unveiled with its Galaxy S8 last year. The technology is capable of speeding up tasks that would normally take several steps, setting reminders, getting the weather and more. But it's also not quite as advanced as competing technologies like Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant.
In the Galaxy S9, Samsung announced some Bixby improvements, including language translation via the camera. The company is also tipped to be planning a Bixby 2.0 upgrade for later this year that will come with a variety of as-yet announced features. It's likely, though unconfirmed, that Bixby 2.0 will debut with the Galaxy Note 9 Samsung will unveil later this year.
Although Samsung didn't say so, it's perhaps also likely that some of the technologies Kngine had been working on will also find their way to Bixby 2.0.