- Google “Smart Reply” assistive technology to land on Hangouts Chat.
- Gmail’s implementation has raised both satisfaction and scrutiny for not being always great.
- Google ascertains that Hangouts Chat will remain available to the public, in some form at least.
Google is apparently planning to implement its AI-assisted writing and text prediction technology across all of its tools and services, so after Gmail which was enriched with these features during its most recent revamping, “Smart Reply” will see implementation on the Hangouts Chat.
“Smart Reply” is a system that utilizes machine learning methods to propose three possible phrase replies to a received message, allowing the user to simply click on the appropriate one. Most of the time, this is a time saver and combined with Gmail’s “Smart Compose” which goes a step further to finish phrases and sentences for you, it has changed the way Gmail users compose their messages nowadays. For now, Hangouts will only get Smart Replies, and considering the length of the messages that are usually to be found in chat rooms, this should be enough to make the tool significantly handier.
Of course, and as it is to be expected from machine-learning AIs, Smart Reply doesn’t always arrive with the best possible suggestions, and it is not always getting the point and tone of a message. In Hangouts Chat, this may become even worse or even more evident, so it will be interesting to see how the system copes with the added complexity of having fewer words to help it deduce what is going on. Possibly, Google is confident that their writing assistance technology has already been adequately enriched by the massive amount of Gmail learning data that it got to work with during this past couple of months.
Hangouts Chat is one of the services that Google plans to allegedly end by 2020, keeping it only as a commercial product in the context of G+. However, it is totally possible that consumers will see a spun version of the chat application that will continue to serve the public by then. The time when this transition will take place is still unclear, but Google has assured that Hangouts will remain available to users even if it is in the form of a different product.
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