Google testing 'Reply,' a smart replies app for third-party apps

Google testing 'Reply,' a smart replies app for third-party apps

Google is working on a new way for users to send quick replies without typing anything.

The photo above shows Reply in action when used with Hangouts and Messages.

The replies take into consideration the user's current location to help with crafting the correct response - like a "yes" or "no" if you've arrived somewhere, or the time it will take you to drive to a given location, for example.

The project, called "Reply", is an Android only feature that's now taking sign-ups on the web for anyone interested in giving it a try.

So when will Reply be available to all Android users? Also like we said, Google wants to potentially bring the feature to other chat apps, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Twitter DMs, Slack, and so on. The app can go through your calendar and tell others if you're on leave.

Beyond the aforementioned, Reply will include a myriad of automated features.


There would also be a vacation responder that would automatically reply while you are in an area without cell service for an extended period. Smart Reply will scan your calendar, see that Tuesday is totally open, and then make suggested replies, like, "Tuesday works for me", or "Let me get back to you". When you get an urgent message like "We're waiting for you!" Area 120, an experimental program inside Google, developed the new Reply project for this exact objective.

However, the idea behind the project is very promising.

The key feature of Reply is that it aims to bring smart replies to the next level. The app is now only being offered to Android users as part of a test, which select people have been invited to.

Google confirmed the experiment is in the works, but wouldn't speak to other details like the team members building Reply at Area 120 or the time to launch.

According to screenshots of Smart Reply working in Android Messages and Google Hangouts that TechCrunch has supplied, the smart replies take into account the context of the question before offering a potential reply for you to give.

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