Google’s Inbox email client is already a neat app that serves emails in a unique way and the company is always trying to find more features that traditional email services lack, either due to design choices or because such features do not match their target market. The latest such utility to make its way into Inbox is “Smart Reply” which is exactly what you probably expect from the name.
Smart Reply scans your incoming emails and uses machine learning technology to create natural language replies based on the context of the messages. The more you use the feature, the better it will become at formulating responses. Early suggestions will be very basic but the system is actually capable of replying with at least 20,000 different phrases so you will see its full potential after spending some time with it.
Even when the system does not offer a great reply, users can always edit them before continuing. The utility will also learn from this behavior as its sequence-to-sequence learning technology helps it adapt itself in continuous situations. And as you can see from the images, Smart Reply provides messages that look very natural so that users will not even be able to tell the difference. This is augmented by the fact that the utility provides a selection of three responses every time so that you can choose the most appropriate one.
Google notes that the feature is best suited for short replies as the project was built specifically for mobile. Greg Corrado, a Senior Research Scientist at Google, explains that replying to emails on mobile is a convoluted process which many people find annoying. Instead of looking through all of your emails on mobile, Smart Replies can instead offer you a quick, simple alternative that will hopefully be advanced enough to emulate natural language and correct responses.
The Smart Reply feature will be making its way to both Android and iOS devices later this week so keep an eye out for updates in the app stores.