Monday, 24 Jun 2019
News Tech

Google ends support for Reply, which added smart replies to third-party apps


Google will no longer continue support for Reply, an experimental app that offers smart reply responses to various messaging apps such as Slack, Hangouts, and Messenger. The app launched earlier this year as part of Google’s Area 120 division that incubates and tests wacky apps.

“As you know, Reply was an experiment, and that experiment has now ended,” Google wrote in an email to beta testers. “While it might still work for the next few months, you may encounter bugs, or see that the suggestions aren’t as good.” The company says it will incorporate what it’s learned from the app in other Google products, which likely includes Gmail’s Smart Compose and Smart Reply. (Smart Reply is also available on Android Messages.)

When I tested the app earlier this year, I found that Reply’s automated responses were often bland, leaned toward affirmative answers, or just simply parroted the noun from the message that was received. It also tended to offer “I love you” as a default third response regardless of context.

Reply was also supposed to roll out a Maps and Calendar integration that could offer appointment suggestions or commute estimates based on a user’s current location and traffic conditions, but neither of these suggestions was available in my short time using Reply. If Google plans to still roll out these features, however, expect to see them in Gmail and Android Messages first.


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