Google's Area 120 Testing Smart Reply Feature for Android Text Messages

Reply to bring Google Smart Reply to any chat app

The screenshots in Reply's announcement shows how it integrates with Google Hangouts and Android Messages.

Now that you have an understanding of what smart replies are, you should also know that a small R&D team at Google is working to bring this feature to all of your favorite messaging clients. Like all other projects within Area 120, it's a very early experiment so there aren't many details to share right now.

It's hard to imagine how quickly Google will be able to finish this project given that it involves bringing it to third-party apps and the fact that Smart Reply still feels limited even on Google's own set of services. For example, if a user receives a message like "We're waiting for you!" To work its magic, Reply will require access to previous chat history, and that's a lot of information to give away if you're a regular user of instant messaging apps.

The expanded feature aims to take the hassle out of firing back replies in a range of popular messaging apps, including WhatsApp.

According to the Area 120 announcement about the project, the plan is to offer support for Reply within a variety of mainstream chat apps, including Hangouts, Allo, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Android Messages, Skype, Twitter DMs, and Slack.

Allo now uses Smart Reply in its message platform to enable users to quickly respond to messages with a selection of context-aware replies. It should be noted that Reply will only be available on Android for the time being.

Announced in a blog post, the tech giant said the feature is now in a test period, meaning only a handful of news outlets like CNN, The Washington Post and Mashable, have the chance to embed publisher-made stories into search results.

According to TechCrunch, there is a Do Not Disturb mode that can switch on when a user is driving, as well as a vacation responder that automatically checks your calendar to let others know you aren't working. Reply will make sure to get the user's attention even when their phone is in silent mode. If you're interested in applying to be in on the trial you'll also have to supply a reason why you want to give it a go.

The app is named "Reply", and invitations to test it have been sent out by Area 120.

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