The times they are a-changin’ — but for the better!
In their continuous effort to better the user experience, Google recently released their newest feature for Inbox by Gmail: Gmail Smart Reply.
It’s yet another advancement in Google’s “AI first” initiative — a concept that, while still hard to explicitly nail down, pretty much means Google is moving more and more towards the machine learning, which will make its users’ lives easier and easier.
But don’t worry, we’re a LONG way from the birth of Skynet. 😉
What is Gmail Smart Reply?
Gmail Smart Reply is a feature exclusive to the Inbox by Gmail mobile app, which uses machine learning (deep learning to be specific) to generate applicable (and common) response options for the emails that its user receives.
To put it another way, this feature is an autocorrect tool not for words but for ENTIRE email responses.
Take a look at these two examples:
These emails are similarly worded, but each asks different questions… and because of that, they have different sets of reply options.
How does Gmail Smart Reply Work?
The concept is simple.
You open an email from your boss, spouse, doctor, etc., in the middle of a work day and there are three replies to choose from — all of which Gmail Smart Reply has determined are appropriate responses, based off of your email behavior.
Why is Gmail Smart Reply Important to You?
In a world where the average adult receives 121 emails a day (over half of which are statistically checked on a mobile device), it’s no secret that there’s a lot of crap to sort through in your inbox.
But what about the emails you want to respond to? Better yet, what about the emails you want to respond to, but don’t have the time or headspace to respond to?
Think about it…
No matter how diligent you are with checking your inbox, there’s always AT LEAST one that falls through the cracks. But with Gmail Smart Reply, you read that email without having to formulate a new thought (which often is more work than we care to admit).
Instead, there are three options available to choose from, and tweak if necessary.
And the more you use it, the better it becomes at suggesting answers for you AND the more those answers reflect your emailing style.
For example, if you’re more of a “Thank you!” person than a “thanks” person, Gmail Smart Reply will eventually recognize this behavior and reflect it in your answer bank. It’s small, but it’s personalized.
And who doesn’t want their voice to be heard?
How Do You Use Gmail Smart Reply?
You open the Inbox by Gmail app on your phone (because, again, Gmail Smart Reply is ONLY available in this mobile app), view whichever email you’d like, and the available replies show up automatically.
You don’t even have to hit the “Reply” button. Once you select a response, it opens the reply email for you, from where you can either click “Send” or edit.
NOTE: Gmail Smart Reply does not show up for EVERY email you open…
Because Gmail Smart Reply is still fine-tuning, it appears for emails that are shorter, pose a specific question, and are to you personally.
In effect, things like newsletters, promos, and other auto-generated emails will not (or are at least much less likely to) generate Gmail Smart Reply options.
So far the reactions from the Gmail community have spanned from, “This is just another way for large companies to invade our privacy,” to “Hmmm?”
While it may be too early to answer exactly what the release of this feature means, it’s certain that Google is making good on its mission to create products that will use machine learning to ease our lives.
Will there be more on this later?
Response 1: Definitely!
Response 2: No.
Response 3: Hopefully 🙂
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