Last week, we heard about an interesting new application that is in development. Called ‘Reply,’ the app was made by Googlers from Area 120, an experimental division within Google. The app aims to bring smart reply functionality to chat/messaging apps that currently do not have it, such as Twitter, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Slack, Whatsapp, and Android Messages (for non-Project Fi users). Today, the first beta version of the app is rolling out to users who signed up. We’ve installed the app and have taken it for a brief spin in our hands on.
As you can see, the Reply app has replaced the default notifications from Hangouts and Twitter with its own notification. Underneath the original text, the app offers a set of potential responses I can send to my conversation partner. The responses are generated based on Google’s Machine Learning algorithms.
Smart Replies in Android Messages without Project Fi Subscription. Credits: Dylan Raga.
Responses can be intelligent and pull information from your location or calendar. Responses can also trigger based off of key words from the messages. For example, any message with terms like “urgent” can trigger a sound to notify you of an important message. Further, the app can also detect when you either cannot respond at the time as it might be unsafe (driving or biking), or you cannot respond because you are unavailable (sleeping or in a meeting).
We’ve collected a gallery of screenshots showing off the setup process and all of the available instructions that are in the app, so you can have a better idea of what it does before you run and install it onto your device.
The app can be downloaded at the link below. It works on any Android 7.0+ device, and all it requires is that you enable the app’s Notification Listener service. The app promises that it doesn’t retain any records of your notifications, so you don’t have to worry that Google is reading all of your messages.
Currently, Reply says it supports Android Messages, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, Whatsapp, Skype, Slack, and Twitter DMs. We expect it to start supporting more popular messaging apps in the future, such as Telegram. If you use one of the aforementioned apps, give Reply by Google a shot and let us know what you think of it in the comments below.
This article was updated to reflect that Reply by Google works on Whatsapp, Skype, and Slack as well.
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