Right now, only the Android operating system offers Smart Reply functionalities, so it can also serve as a major selling point for Android-based devices. The new software is being developed by Area 120 and its goal is to bring Google's Smart Reply feature to a bunch of popular third-party messaging apps.
The Reply app is from Area 120, a group at Google focused on quickly iterated experimental products that the public are able to test.
The key feature of Reply is that it aims to bring smart replies to the next level. "Alert messages" feature in which if your phone is silent and you have a prior meeting or work, your phone will give you update on that event. Here, it offers Smart Replies to your notification and gives responses to questions like "When can you be home?" or "Are you at the restaurant?"
As well as single-tap responses Google is planning to enable automatic replies, for example letting people know when you are busy and can't get to your phone.
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The great thing is that you don't actually need to have been formally invited by Google to request access to the Reply app.
The replies take user's current location into consideration in order to craft a correct response. Plus it will have an advanced do not disturb mode that will silence your phone and tell people you can't chat right now, but also scan incoming messages for important stuff so that "Reply can make sure to get your attention even when your phone is silent".
The project, like all Area 120 projects, is unrelated to any broader developments at Google - in this case, that means it's not directly tied to Google's messaging efforts. The app is now only being offered to Android users as part of a test, which select people have been invited to.
Report suggests that Reply app could be used only those who use third party-keyboard other and not Google's Gboard.
Area 120 is a small "experimental program within Google", and it's dedicated to creating unique apps and services - many of them that never see the light of day. "Like all other projects within Area 120, it's a very early experiment so there aren't many details to share right now".