Google 'smart reply' will suggest answers for your emails

Inbox logo

Clearing your inbox is about to get a little faster, if you are using Google's Inbox app.

A new feature called Smart Reply will suggest short responses, based on the contents of an email.

Google described how the app uses machine learning to "recognise emails that need responses" and suggest some options in natural language.

The company also claims the feature will improve over time, learning from a user's choices of response.

Google made its experimental Inbox app available to all users in May 2015.

It includes several features designed to make the process of using email more streamlined.

chart demonstrating machine learning
Image caption A chart demonstrating how Google has applied machine learning to encode the incoming email and one to predict possible responses

The app will prompt users with to-do reminders, plot travel itineraries and suggest what users should do next.

In a demonstration on its blog, Google showed the app suggesting replies to an email asking about vacation plans.

The options were: "No plans yet", "I just sent them to you" and "I'm working on them".

The suggested responses can be sent alone or extended to form a longer reply.

An update including the smart reply feature is due later this week for iOS and Android versions of Inbox.

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