There’s been a bit of controversy over the Galaxy S8’s dedicated Bixby button, which Samsung doesn’t want you to remap for other purposes. But a new app that’s just surfaced in the Google Play Store lets you redirect it to Google Now instead. Grab it now before Samsung gets it blocked!
Before the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ made their official debuts last week, there was another app named All In One Gestures that allowed you to remap the Bixby button to other things — like your favorite app. But Samsung didn’t like this, and it quickly blocked the app before its new flagships went on sale and the vast majority of users managed to get their hands on it.
Samsung said that the app “was exploiting a system-level behavior,” and as such, “that behavior has been changed.” But in actual fact, it’s more likely the South Korean company simply wants to ensure that the button can only be used for Bixby in an effort to encourage more people to try out its new virtual assistant, which makes its debut with the Galaxy S8 series.
Understandably, a lot of users are frustrated by this. It would be nice to have the freedom to use that additional button for something else if you prefer another virtual assistant, or if virtual assistants simply aren’t your thing. But now there’s another app that lets you do this — albeit with some big restrictions.
It’s called BixRemap, and it’s an incredibly simple tool — built in just 20 minutes — that’s available to download for free from Google Play. Once activated, it will launch Google Now when you hit the Bixby button, but there’s no way to map it to other apps or services just yet. Here’s a short video of the app in action.
As you can see, there’s a slight delay between hitting the button and seeing Google Now, and for a second or two, Bixby appears before Google Now pops up above it. It’s not the most elegant solution, then, but if you prefer Google Now, it’s something. Developer Dave Bennett also promises that he will develop the app further if there’s more interest in it. It’s “just a test app at the moment.”
Samsung will probably be searching for a way to block BixRemap, too, so you might want to grab it now and try it out before it’s too late. But hopefully, it will stick around, and it will offer a way to remap the Bixby button to other things later on.