Gmail App Will Now Write Emails for You
Smart Reply offers quick responses from 'deep-learning' network
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2015 10:37 AM CST
This example shows how Smart Reply will work.   (Google)
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(Newser) – Do you dread replying to emails, especially while on the go? Google's Inbox by Gmail app has a crafty new feature that could eliminate the task by writing responses for you. The Smart Reply feature is basically like auto-suggest but for phrases rather than words, reports Buzzfeed. The feature reads an incoming email—Google stresses there aren't any humans reading your email, but rather a "deep-learning" neural network—then suggests three grammatically correct replies that are between three and six words long, per Wired. For example, if your boss asks about your vacation plans, the feature might suggest, "No plans yet," "I just sent them to you," or "I'm working on them." Click on one, and it gets sent off immediately, though you can also edit the replies if you choose.

"The network will tailor both the tone and content of the responses to the email you're reading," a Google director says. That means, in some cases, it can tell when an email includes a joke, and might suggest you reply with "Ha. Very Funny." The feature is also designed to learn from the responses you choose so it can improve over time—hence the "smart" in Smart Reply. Engineers explain common responses like "I love you" kept popping up initially. "As adorable as this sounds, it wasn't really what we were hoping for," a research scientist writes in a blog. Responses were later tweaked to show "high affinity to the original message," which "made for a less lovey, but far more useful, email assistant," he adds. You can try the feature for yourself on Android and iOS starting Wednesday.