Gmail Wants to Speed Up Email Replies


The precious seconds we spend crafting standard email replies can really add up:

“Looks great.” “Thanks so much.” “Got it.”

Now Google wants to make that time spent a thing of the past. A new Gmail feature called Smart Reply was released Tuesday for computers running Inbox by Gmail.

The feature works by letting Gmail users pick from three prewritten replies to emails that they can send out as is or edit to sound just a little more lifelike.

It’s a feature that Google (GOOGL) released for mobile last November. Google says already 10% of mobile replies are sent using Smart Reply.

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The email-drafting program uses machine learning to watch how you compose your own emails and get better at writing more natural responses over time that sound more like they’re coming from you.

But the feature isn’t available for everyone just yet; you have to be using the Inbox by Gmail app in order to get Smart Reply options.

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And Google’s had to do some refining of its email-writing robot to get here. An early version of the bot was really smitten with using “I love you” as one of its standard replies to just about any email, which could get awkward fast if people quickly hit send. The AI system had to be taught to suggest responses that aren’t just likely and lifelike, but also similar in tone to the original message. It seems the true art of emailing may still be in human hands.

Clarification: This feature is only available on Google’s Inbox email client, not in the standard Gmail app. Google declined to comment on when or if the feature will be coming to Gmail.

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