It’s been just over a year now since Google brought smartphone users on iOS and Android a powerful new way to manage their communications with the launch of Inbox for Gmail. From the start, the app set out to be smarter than your traditional email, using machine learning to identify message highlights, bundle similar emails together, and optimize search performance. This week Google’s announcing the latest feature to come to Inbox, as the app gains the ability to suggest pre-written email responses.
The tool’s called Smart Reply, and it attempts to identify messages where a short response may be appropriate. Perhaps a friend’s inviting you out to drinks after work; Smart Reply would recognize the nature of this email and present you with a few options for quickly reply – maybe, “Sure, I’ll be there,” or “No thanks; can’t make it.”
You’re free to flesh out these responses with additional text or ignore them altogether in favor of a custom reply, but for when not a lot of extra verbosity is needed, Smart Reply could save users a few moments. And if you still don’t feel super-comfortable with lengthy bouts of on-screen keyboard text entry, using one of these prepared responses (and not typing anything at all) could be a godsend.
Smart Reply will go live for Inbox on both Android and iOS sometime later this week. For starters, at least, it will only support English text.