Google has been using machine learning to improve, modify and create features for a long time now. Recently, Area 120, an experimental program by Google, came up with an idea for a new experiment. Using machine learning algorithms, they are modifying the ‘Smart Reply’ feature to be extended into all popular chatting mobile applications.
‘Smart Reply’ means our smartphone will scan all incoming messages or emails and give us several response options. Depending on the requirement, we can choose any one. As users, we don’t need to type anything. It’s just a one-click operation. This feature has been in operation in Gmail and Google’s Allo app for a while.
The replies can also take into account the user’s location for framing several responses. For example, if the text message is ‘Are you at the restaurant?’, and your location is at the restaurant, it will suggest responses like “yes”, “yes, I am here”, “I am indeed”. Incredible, isn’t it?
Google’s servers will scan your e-mails, generate three short responses, and add them at the bottom of your screen or just above the keyboard. You can select one of the replies, edit it if required, or send it directly. Keeping in mind an individual’s safety, the messages or the location are only scanned by machine and no person is reading them.
Smart Reply utilizes machine learning to suggest replies that are used by you more often, that is, it will understand from your previous responses, and prepare the next ones. We have had this feature in Google’s Gmail for over two years. Google’s neural networks, which are programmed to learn behaviors through training, do the work. Area 120 is bringing it in for other chat applications such as:
- Facebook Messenger
- Android Messages
- Twitter DMs
A point to note here is that this feature will not be added into each chat application. Instead, a new app called ‘Reply’ will use the existing API to read the text and images in your messages and produce a response accordingly. It will be available on Google’s Play Store soon.
Our take on this
The ‘Reply’ app will be limited to Android devices for now (sorry Apple users). Having personally used the ‘Smart Reply’ feature to quickly reply to e-mails previously, I cannot wait to see it in action in chat applications. Time is at a premium for most of us in today’s world and this excellent addition from Google will save plenty of it.