A report has surfaced that Google is in discussions with Samsung to promote the Google Assistant and the Play Store over Samsung’s own alternatives, such as its own assistant Bixby and its Galaxy App Store.
Samsung is by far one of the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturers and a leading Android device maker. Whilst the company’s devices do run Google’s Android operating system, it has tried to build out an ecosystem of its own software that runs atop of Android.
On top of this, Samsung has tried to make its own assistant, Bixby, the most accessible option for customers via a dedicated button on its smartphones. It seems though that most people don’t like Bixby much and would prefer a more acceptable assistant like Google’s.
According to a person briefed on the matter who has told Bloomberg news, the discussions involve giving Google more control over search on Samsung handsets globally which would also see Google’s digital assistant and Play Store for apps on Samsung devices being added over its own services.
A Google spokesperson has emailed a statement to Bloomberg that said:
“Like all Android device makers, Samsung is free to create its own app store and digital assistant,” and “That’s one of the great features of the Android platform. And while we regularly talk with partners about ways to improve the user experience, we have no plans to change that.”
Whilst a Samsung spokesperson has told Bloomberg that:
“Samsung remains committed to our own ecosystem and services,” whilst “At the same time, Samsung closely works with Google and other partners to offer the best mobile experiences for our users.”
The terms of deal have not yet been made public yet and it remains to be seen if both parties can make an agreement. Given Google currently pays billions of dollars to be the default search engine for Apple’s Safari browser on the iPhone and other Apple products, a discussion with Samsung is hardly surprising.
If anything, the removal and replacement of Bixby with the Google Assistant would be most welcomed by Samsung users like myself. We will wait to see what happens more with this new potential deal going forward.