When you’re using your mobile device and you’re replying to emails or even just to your messages from the various apps, you sometimes don’t have the luxury of typing out fully formed sentences. You probably sometimes wish your keyboard can help you out. With the advent of smart replies in various apps the past months (or years, in some cases) or so, that is pretty much possible. Google is now testing out a smart replies on the Gboard virtual keyboard so you can use it on some of the most popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and of course Google’s own Hangouts and Allo.

The feature is actually still in development so you won’t be able to get it if you update Gboard to the latest version. It seems to be available for selected users only. You’ll receive a notification that you have a quick reply box and you have to tap it to enable the feature on your Gboard autocomplete bar. You’ll need to grant it some permissions to be able to fully access it. So far, the apps where smart replies can be used are the following: Android Messages, Facebook Messenger (also Lite version), Google Allo, Google Hangouts, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and WeChat.

So how does a smart reply work? When responding to a message, machine learning technology will analyze the message and using your past responses as well as the most common replies, it will give you suggestions of short messages that you may use to save you the hassle of typing out your actual response. It may be what you really intended to send or you’ll see a better suggestion from your original message and would just rather send that. Either way, it takes a few seconds (or even minutes) off of your typing time, so that’s always a good thing.

Google’s Inbox introduced this feature back in 2016 and eventually, it also arrived on the Gmail app itself and on Android Messages. Google’s messaging app, Allo, which still hasn’t really become as popular as they intended, also has a smart reply feature to entice new users. Then earlier this year, they introduced the beta version of the Reply app which brings this feature to other communication apps like Twitter, Skype, Slack, etc. Aside from the automated responses, it could also generate replies based on where you are, send automatic replies if you’re out of the office, etc.

The Reply app still hasn’t been released though and while Gboard Smart Replies is still in beta, we would rather have the latter as it’s more convenient to just have it on your virtual keyboard. On the other hand, the former supports more apps and you can also use it regardless of what keyboard you use. Let’s see which of the two actually makes it official instead of just beta.

VIA: XDA Developers