Google’s messaging app strategy is a huge mess, but one surprisingly useful feature that has extended from Inbox to Gmail to Allo and Android Messages is Smart Reply, which offers three responses based on context for you to quickly reply to your contacts. Google is now working to expand this beyond its own suite of products, and is opening up a limited test to Android users to add the feature to other chat apps, such as Slack and Skype.
According to a sign-up page for the app appropriately called Reply, Google is potentially interested in making the feature work on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, and Twitter DMs. Smart Reply can already figure out basic context to a conversation — for example, if a person sends you an email asking to meet, you’ll often get three suggestions that basically amount to “Yes,” “No,” or “Let me get back to you.” It’ll also take into account your calendar availability and current location to craft these responses, so when someone ask if you’ve arrived somewhere, the suggestions should make the most sense for the moment you answer. According to the sample screenshots, users can reply directly from their notifications.
Beyond offering quick responses, the app will also allow users to turn on Do Not Disturb mode for when they’re in meetings or driving, or recognize when the user is on vacation to add an auto-responder across various chat apps.
Reply is part of Google’s Area 120 division, the company’s in-house incubator that creates different apps and experiments unrelated to larger Google product strategies. Interested users can sign up to try Reply here.