Google debuted a feature called Smart Reply for Gmail a while ago, which uses context-aware artificial intelligence and machine learning to generate a set of replies to messages, allowing people to click on pre-made mundane phrases instead of typing them out.
Say a colleague asks to confirm the schedule for tomorrow's meeting. Smart Reply will automatically detect that and offer a selection of possible responses, such as "Sounds good," "I'll be there," or something along those lines.
The feature has become a staple of Gmail, and now Google wants to move ahead and bring it to its other services, too. Which is why Smart Reply is now part of Hangouts Chat for G Suite, its workplace messaging platform.
Smart Reply Comes To Hangouts Chat
The implementation on Hangouts Chat is a lot similar to that in Gmail, in which the feature proposes three different replies to conversations. It's now rolling out to workplaces using G suite, and although it's still too early to determine whether Smart Reply works well in a chat setting, it's still a nice little extra feature to have, especially for times when users are too tired to type out cliched responses such as, "Thank you" or, "See you later!"
With this move, it's clear Google is determined to implement its assistive typing features throughout products where it might flourish. Aside from Smart Reply in Gmail, there's also something called Smart Compose, which helps users pick phrases within the body of an email as they're composing. These tools are starting to become more visible overtime, a sign that Google is pushing ahead with AI as a core part of making its services more efficient, smarter, and a lot more useful.
The State Of Smart Reply
That being said, Smart Reply isn't perfect — at least not yet. The feature still receives criticism for suggesting responses that are inappropriate or don't align with the context of a message. As such, it's interesting to see how it performs in the chat setting, where messages go by more quickly and there's less formality between communicating parties.
What Happens To Hangouts?
Not everyone will get to try this version of Smart Reply, however, since it's only coming to Hangouts Chat and not the mainstream version of Hangouts everyone has on their Gmail right now. In fact, it might not ever come at all — Google is rumored to kill off Hangouts in 2020 as it continues to purge entries from its coterie of messaging apps. The company has promised that Hangouts Chat will be available to regular consumers one day, though.