It was around this time last year that Google launched ‘Inbox’ which they touted had the ability to act as an assistant. Since the launch of inbox there hasn’t been a whole lot of news or information about how Google plans to take the app forward, until now.
The company is going to start rolling out a new feature called “Smart Reply” which will use artificial intelligence to suggest replies to emails that you get sent. The feature is coming to Inbox iOS and Android apps later on in the week.
It will work like predictive text in keyboard apps except that it will predict phrases you are most likely to use when replying to messages as opposed to recommending which word to use next as predictive text does.
Smart Reply will show up to three short sentences based on the message and how you have responded to similar emails in the past.
According to software engineer Bálint Miklós, the feature took quite a bit of engineering to get working. He explained to Mashable that the feature uses machine learning techniques to surface relevant responses in realtime along with other tools that use natural language technology.
He says that when they started testing it, a commonly suggested reply was “I love you.” He noted that they decided this response would not really be appropriate for most work related correspondence. It is an interesting feature, while I’m not sure if it will become a mainstream staple of email features it could make answering emails a little easier and less mundane.