Everyone is looking to make everything a little easier. Sometimes, we can’t come up with the right words to say when responding to a simple email. “I wish my email would take care of itself,” you say.

Well, Gmail has listened, introducing a new Smart Reply feature set to roll out soon.

The latest feature in Gmail scans email specifically looking for messages that it thinks you need to respond to. Let’s say your wife emails you asking “what’s for dinner?” Gmail will come up with three different, short responses you can send automatically. Those smart replies could be “Tacos.” “Stop bothering me at work.” or “I don’t know, babe, maybe we should go to that nice restaurant tonight? J”

If you opt to select a Google-provided Smart Reply, you can of course add to it or edit after selecting your option. After all, a short one-sentence response may give the recipient the frame of mind that you didn’t care to take much time in your response.

Why Smart Reply Is Cool

For years, there has been some form of auto response, notably with text messaging. There are canned responses at your disposal like “talk to you soon” “in a meeting, I’ll call you later” or “sounds good. I’ll see you then.” What makes Smart Reply by Gmail different is that it takes the specific contents of your inbox and tailors a custom response for every situation.

Do We Really Need Smart Response?

The human element of essentially everything we do isn’t in total jeopardy, but it is losing some of its pizazz. In a post on the official Gmail blog, Gmail software engineer Bálint Miklós said “For those emails that only need a quick response, it can take care of the thinking and save precious time spent typing.”

Every second counts, but how quick can you churn out a short, 50-word email response from your keyboard? The average person types 40-words per-minute, with professionals in many different fields going past 75.

Thinking can be hard, too.


Will Smart Reply Work?

Like most early-stage software deployments, Smart Reply won’t be without its kinks. When in the testing stages, work-related emails often triggered an auto-response of “I love you.”

Is it actually possible that Gmail could be trying to get you in trouble, or at least laugh at the awkward stares you receive at the water cooler? While that bug was fixed during Google’s initial testing cycle, Miklós said universal reactions to Smart Reply will help improve the system’s algorithm over time.

If you’re interested in learning more about the behind-the-scenes work and the intelligence technology that has been built into Smart Reply, there’s a great blog post on Google’s research blog with more of the “how it works” information.

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