Smart Reply in Android Messages Rolling Out to Project Fi Users
Smart Reply, a predictive texting feature in Google apps such as Allo, Gmail, and Inbox, uses machine learning techniques to parse messages and craft contextually relevant replies. On Wednesday, the official Twitter account of Project Fi, Google’s mobile carrier, announced that Smart Reply would roll out exclusively to subscribers this week.
Starting today, Project Fi customers can send automated replies via Android Messages with a single tap using Smart Reply. The nature of the rollout is a bit unclear, because Smart Reply requires access to conversation data in order to suggest responses. (Some speculate that Google is analyzing Fi subscribers’ SMS histories.) It’s also not yet clear whether Smart Reply on Android Messages will remain exclusive to Project Fi , or whether it will come to other carriers in the future — a Google spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that Smart Reply “is only available for Project Fi users for now”.
Messaging on the go? Smart Reply for Android Messages lets you text with a tap, rolling out starting today on Project Fi. pic.twitter.com/FRYO4hu9Ah
— Project Fi (@projectfi) January 24, 2018
Android Messages, for the uninitiated, is Google’s official SMS and RCS client. It’s gained the support of an increasing number of carriers, and will soon be pre-loaded on devices from Huawei.
One thing’s for sure: Project Fi support doesn’t make Smart Reply any less controversial. Google’s machine learning algorithms have to read and analyze conversations in order to generate “smart replies”, which doesn’t sit right with some people. On the other hand, it’s a major time-saving convenience — even if it doesn’t get it right all the time.
If you’re a Project Fi subscriber, make sure the Android Messages app on your phone is up to date and sit tight. If all goes according to plan, you should begin seeing Smart Reply suggestions in the coming days.