Today, Samsung has revealed its new Bixby Marketplace, which aims to provide "Capsules," akin to Alexa Skills, that better expand the functionality of the company's frequently lambasted voice assistant. Unfortunately for Samsung, this brave new marketplace is launching in a nearly empty state, with only a few new installable third-party Capsules at the time of writing. Most of the Capsules in the market from big names are actually old, and appear to be a repackaging of previous Bixby integrations.
Bixby app update and changelog with the new Bixby Marketplace.
To enable the new Bixby Market, you'll need to make sure your Bixby app is updated via the Galaxy Store. Pulling down the most recent version (220.127.116.11, dated June 27th) should enable it. From there, you can access the Bixby Marketplace by opening Bixby via the key or app and swiping or tapping your way to the new tab it gets on the default Bixby landing page.
In the Bixby Marketplace, you can browse Capsules (Samsung's name for standalone Bixby integrations) by category or view a couple of curated lists.
Left: Bixby Marketplace in the Bixby app. Right: A Capsule listing.
These Capsules work much like Alexa Skills, providing extra functionality or integration into third-party services. The process to enable Capsules might seem a bit odd at first, but that's a result of how few options there are. Most Capsules don't have an "add" button, just a grayed out "remove" button. That's because the Bixby Marketplace is launching with very little in it outside preexisting or pre-enabled integrations. By our count at the time of writing, there are eight third-party Capsules you can "add" in the entire market.
Some of those pre-enabled integrations may be new, but we lack the means to verify each service individually. Samsung's documentation when it comes to Bixby services is lacking, and while options like Ticketmaster, Google Maps, Yelp, Uber, and NPR might sound new, we know each has seen integration into Bixby before.
Meme Generator's Bixby integration, which is more direct than some.
Most of the genuinely new third-party services seem to require direct invocation by name to work — while you can ask Bixby to just "play some music" and get Spotify, asking for your horoscope from Ahex Horoscope or for a meme in Meme Generator requires directly and explicitly naming either as part of your query. It would appear that Bixby is just now reaching the "tell X to do Y" stage of Assistant's Actions on Google, circa 2016.
Individual Capsules also have reviews and star ratings, like an app store.
There's a review system for Capsules, though very few have been posted yet. There's also supposed to be a "preferred capsule" setting somewhere according to Samsung's formal announcement that controls specific categories of queries and which Capsule they get directed to, but I can't seem to find it, and it doesn't seem to work too well. Right now questions related to mapping and navigation get oddly split between Samsung's Maps service and Google Maps — and the latter doesn't directly integrate into Bixby, questions are simply passed to the app which is then opened. We might know what the "preferred capsule" setting looks like in the future when there is a wide enough selection of Capsules for there to be overlap in categories.
Even if all of the 58 total Capsules in the Bixby Marketplace were new (which they aren't, many describe integrations which previously existed), the Bixby Market is still essentially empty compared to the over 80,000 skills available from Alexa.