Google is testing smart replies in popular third-party messaging apps

Enlarge  Google's two demo smart replies now directly in a notification

Enlarge Google's two demo smart replies now directly in a notification

According to TechCrunch, Reply isn't a standalone app, rather it's simply a way to respond to messages - though how that works is unclear, surely an app is required? You know those boxes that pop up when you are composing a reply to a message and make suggestions what to say? Do you wish a robot could free you of your constant communication obligations via WhatsApp, Facebook or text messages? But as a hint of how it would work, Area 120 said the plan is to offer Smart Replies right into the notifications tab, supposedly when the user receives a notification from the above-mentioned third-party chat apps.

Reply isn't only focused on Google's own messaging apps, though. Pretty soon, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and other apps will offer smart automated replies. The shared mail highlights some of the key features of the Reply app like the app can mute your phone while you're driving and reply to anyone who sends you text that you can't chat right now. But the feature has not been made available to all Android Messages users as of yet.

The project, simply called "Reply", will allow users who sign up - now available to Android users only - the ability to use "smart replies" in their favorite mainstream chat applications like Facebook Messenger, Skype, Twitter's Direct Message feature, Whatsapp, and Hangouts. The feature was created to automatically suggest quick replies to emails based on the context of the messages received by the user. Reply will make sure to get the user's attention even when their phone is in silent mode.

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.

The project, like all Area 120 projects, is unrelated to any broader developments at Google - in this case, that means it's not directly tied to Google's messaging efforts.

Android Messages has already rolled out official support for Smart Replies, albeit only for Project Fi users. Reply will be able to silence users' phone when they are driving, and it will also inform people who send a message that the user can not chat at the moment.

Google is working on a new messaging app that adds smart replies but has not mentioned other details such as the launch time.

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