Hate having to think up a witty response to all those emails sitting in your Inbox? Now you don’t have to. Google’s updated Gmail app will now chime in with helpful suggestions of its own.
If you receive a stack of emails that need a response every day, this should be right up your alley. It works like this: open an email in the Inbox app, read it over, and scroll down to the reply section. Just below the compose box you’ll see three suggestions(Smart Replies) that Inbox believes will do the trick. Pick one, tap the paper airplane icon to send it off, and you’re done.
The goal is to get you in and out of Inbox as quickly as possible. According to Google, the purpose of the app is to “keep things organized and helps you get back to what matters.” Cutting down the amount of time you spend drafting replies is a great way to do that.
Where do the suggestions come from? Inbox taps into Google’s neural network to come up with an appropriate selection based on the content of the email you’re reading. At its core, it’s probably quite similar to how they figure out which ads they should show you when you’re scanning your inbox or surfing the web.
So far, the responses are somewhat generic. Phrases like “I’m on it” and “Count us in!” might not convey your usual tone, but they’ll get the job done in a lot of cases. The suggestions will get better over time, too, as more and more Inbox users use the canned responses Google cooks up.
Someday, Inbox may even be able to fully automate the entire process for you. If you let it, of course. Presumably we’ll still have control over computers when that day comes.