If you're using — or are thinking about downloading — Google's Inbox by Gmail app, replying to emails is about to get a lot faster.
Beginning this week, Google is rolling out a Smart Reply feature for the app which will analyze the contents of an email and then suggest three possible short replies. The feature is like auto-suggest, but for phrases and short sentences instead of words.
Behind Smart Reply is some pretty slick machine learning technology. The feature is designed to improve over time as it learns from the reply suggestions you pick and those you ignore.
According to a blog post from Google Senior Research Scientist Greg Corrado, it's taken significant effort to get the methodology behind Smart Reply just right. The technology needs to serve up diverse responses, so the options it presents aren't simply three slightly different ways of saying "How about we meet tomorrow?"
Also tweaked: Phrases like "I love you" and other possibly workplace-inappropriate language which have been filtered out of the feature. "As adorable as this sounds," Corrado wrote, "it wasn’t really what we were hoping for."