Google is testing smart replies in popular third-party messaging apps

Nichole Vega
February 14, 2018

One of the many projects that we're working on within Area 120 is Reply, which suggests smart replies right in notifications from various chat apps.

So far Smart Reply, a feature that first appeared in Inbox by Gmail, has only been introduced to other Google apps, such as Allo and the Gmail mobile app. But as a hint of how it would work, Area 120 said the plan is to offer Smart Replies right into the notifications tab, supposedly when the user receives a notification from the above-mentioned third-party chat apps. When you get an urgent message like "We're waiting for you!"

Reply is created to work with a number of popular messaging services, including Google Hangouts and Allo, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Android Messages, Skype, Twitter direct messages and Slack.

For the uninitiated, Smart Reply is Google's clever artificial intelligence-based feature that generates a set of clickable replies based on the context of the message. Though it's fairly limited, as is the Smart Reply integration on Project Fi.

The said project is going to be called "Reply" and will be available to Android users initially, as per the project's sign-up form.

It scans the message you are replying to and takes into account other factors like your current location, what's in your Google Calendar, the time of day, and even the weather, and then suggests applicable replies that you can tap and automatically fill in.

One of the features of Inbox and Gmail that Google rolled out a couple of years ago is Smart Reply. As you can see in the screenshot below, Reply looks a lot like Google's native Smart Replies. The app is now only being offered to Android users as part of a test, which select people have been invited to.

The photo above shows Reply in action when used with Hangouts and Messages.

The feature could launch in a variety of chat apps, including business favorite Slack.

Other features of the Reply function include a Do Not Disturb mode. And you want to be there for people, but also for people in the real world.

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