Inbox by Gmail can now reply to your emails

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Meet Smart Reply. It’s the new Inbox feature that suggests how to answer your emails.
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Inbox by Gmail can now reply to your emails

If you’re using Inbox by Gmail as your email provider, then you might have noticed a new feature when you reply to an email. It goes by the name of Smart Reply, and it promises to save your precious time by suggesting suitable answers.

That’s right – Google can now answer your emails for you! Or rather, it gives you a choice of three short responses, and you can choose to send one if you wish.

But just how good is Smart Reply? We asked an Inbox by Gmail using Lowdowner to come up with some answers. Over to them…

Is Smart Reply going to be smart enough?

Smart Reply sounds great, but I have my doubts. Will it actually be ‘smart’ enough to give me responses I can use? Or will it get things wrong and drop me in it with some spectacularly inappropriate replies? To find out, I made sure a few different types of email hit my inbox. Here’s what happened.

Smart Reply vs personal emails

I wanted to see if Smart Reply could recognise a personal (rather than professional) email, and I also wanted to see if it could cope with informal speech like ‘still up for tonight?’

The verdict: Nice answers. I’d happily fire off one of those responses to a mate, safe in the knowledge that I wasn’t sounding like a robot.

Smart Reply vs professional emails

This time I created a much more business-like email to see if Smart Reply would change its tone of voice.

The verdict: Not a bad effort again. I was particularly impressed with the ‘I will attend the meeting’ suggestion, but all three could work.

Smart Reply vs too-good-to-be-true offers…

Would Smart Reply be switched on enough to turn down spammy emails?

The verdict: The good news is that this email came through with a clear warning at the top. It doesn’t seem to have filtered down to Smart Reply though. An option for me not to respond would have impressed me. I think I’ll avoid its suggestions on this occasion.

Smart Reply vs love

Finally, I wanted to see how Smart Reply would cope with more emotional types of email.

The verdict: Smart Reply seems sure about this one. Why have three responses when only one will do? This would be a good answer if the email was from a work colleague, perhaps? But it might not be such a good reply if the original email was from your partner on your 10th anniversary. Plus, the response seems kind of familiar, to those of us old enough to remember Wayne’s World…

Would I recommend Smart Reply?


Smart Reply has its limitations, but I was still impressed with how accurate it was. If you find yourself answering a lot of emails when you’re out and about, it could be a real time saver. It only takes a second to scan the three suggestions, and if you don’t like any, simply go with your own. Don’t worry - Smart Reply isn’t going to make decisions for you and send emails without your knowledge – not yet, anyway.

Have you tried Smart Reply? What do you think? Has it given you some unexpected responses? Share your comments below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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