‘Reply’ by Google prepares to support Telegram, Allo, Instagram, and more

‘Reply’ by Google prepares to support Telegram, Allo, Instagram, and more

Last week, a new experimental app called ‘Reply‘ was made public. The app, made by Googlers at Area 120, started rolling out earlier today. It aims to bring smart reply functionality to many popular messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, Whatsapp, Android Messages, Slack, and Hangouts. However, hidden inside the app are hints that the new app will support many, many more messaging apps.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by Google in a future build.

Reply by Google Supported Messaging Apps

Within the APK file, we have discovered that there are many drawables that the Reply app will use for replicating a notification. Since the Reply app uses a Notification Listener service to intercept and replace existing notifications, it needs to have the original app’s icon ready to use in the notification so the user can quickly tell what app is sending them a message.

Thus, we have found that the following messaging apps will likely be supported in the future:

  • Google Allo
  • Blackberry Messenger
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Kakao
  • Signal
  • Telegram
  • Wechat


Supported Apps in Reply

There’s no telling when Reply will support smart replies in these apps, but it’s clear that this is in the works. Also, we found this mentioned in remote_config_defaults.xml which confirms that these apps are currently in testing, but disabled:

More Automatic Reply Triggers

Currently, Reply by Google can automatically send replies whenever the following conditions are met:

  • In a vehicle
  • Biking
  • Running

For example, if you are running and someone sends you a message, Reply will respond with “[Your name] is running right now.” According to the strings, it looks like the following conditions will also be added:

  • Near a beacon
  • Using headphones
  • At a place (probably user determined)

The following conditions are already listed in the app, but they are currently unavailable.

  • In a train
  • Walking
  • Sleeping
  • In a meeting

Automatic Reply Triggers

<string name="screen_beacon">near a beacon</string>
<string name="screen_biking">biking</string>
<string name="screen_calendar">in a meeting</string>
<string name="screen_driving">in a vehicle</string>
<string name="screen_headphones">using headphones</string>
<string name="screen_list_dnd">Also silence my phone</string>
<string name="screen_location">at a place</string>
<string name="screen_messages_activity_name">Message screening</string>
<string name="screen_running">running</string>
<string name="screen_sleeping">sleeping</string>
<string name="screen_transit">in a train</string>
<string name="screen_walking">walking</string>

List of Possible Automatic Reply Responses

Thanks to the strings, we can also determine the possible responses that Reply might send it if automatically sends a message on your behalf. These automatic replies are denoted to the recipient by a robot emote (🤖), so they know it’s not actually you sending the message.

List of Automatic Reply Responses

<string name="instant_notif_hello_text">"🤖 I asked what's up"</string>
<string name="instant_notif_hello_title" formatted="false">%s on %s said hello</string>
<string name="instant_notif_help_text">🤖 I told them to check out %s</string>
<string name="instant_notif_help_title" formatted="false">%s on %s asked what I can do</string>
<string name="instant_notif_not_working_text">"🤖 I told them you're not working on %s"</string>
<string name="instant_notif_organic_urgent_text">🤖 I told them they can write \"Urgent\" to play a sound on this phone</string>
<string name="instant_notif_organic_urgent_title" formatted="false">%s on %s sounded serious</string>
<string name="instant_notif_screening_activity_text">"🤖 I told them you're %s"</string>
<string name="instant_notif_screening_activity_title" formatted="false">%s on %s sent a message</string>
<string name="instant_notif_when_can_you_be_at_text">🤖 I told them that if you drive now, you can be there in %s</string>
<string name="instant_notif_when_can_you_be_at_title" formatted="false">%s on %s asked when you can be at %s</string>
<string name="instant_notif_where_are_you_text">"🤖 I told them you're at %s"</string>
<string name="instant_notif_where_are_you_title" formatted="false">%s on %s asked where you are</string>
<string name="instant_notif_working_text">"🤖 I told them you're working on %s"</string>
<string name="instant_notif_working_title" formatted="false">"%s on %s asked if you're working"</string>


That’s all that we’ve found so far. The app was just released today, so there isn’t another version of the app to compare it against. We simply looked through the app and picked out aspects that we believe are new based on our understanding of the current feature-set offered by the app. If or when Google rolls out any of these new features, we’ll let you know on the XDA Portal. If you would like to download the app right now, you can do so at the link below.

Download Reply by Google

Let us know in the comments if you spot anything new, and follow our APK Teardown tag for more articles like this!

This article was updated at 6:59 PM EST to reflect that Google Voice is currently supported. It was further updated at 7:20PM EST to more accurately reflect the list of automatic reply conditions (thanks armando_rod).

About author

Mishaal Rahman
Mishaal Rahman

I am the Editor-in-chief of XDA. In addition to breaking news on the Android OS and mobile devices, I manage all editorial and reviews content on the Portal. Tips/media inquiries: [email protected]