Google unveil test for chats with robots

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The app analyzes the text of conversation then generate a contextual response with three suggested replies for the user selection.

The photo above shows Reply in action when used with Hangouts and Messages. The app can go through your calendar and tell others if you're on leave.

The key feature of Reply is that it aims to bring smart replies to the next level. It might even add smarter replies like when someone asks for an ETA, Google would be able to calculate it for you. The Reply software is only available for Android devices and users will have to sign up here in order to try it out for themselves.

The email additionally highlights the different messaging platforms that Reply will work with.

According to the Area 120 announcement about the project, the plan is to offer support for Reply within a variety of mainstream chat apps, including Hangouts, Allo, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Android Messages, Skype, Twitter DMs, and Slack. Like all other projects within Area 120, it's a very early experiment so there aren't many details to share right now. But to be clear, Reply does not offer a standalone app of its own - it's just a way for people to respond to incoming messages. Reply will also include a Do Not Disturb mode which will silence the phone when driving, instead offering a reply to say you're driving.

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In an email to the volunteers, Area 120 said, "You probably get a lot of messages". Also, when a user gets an urgent message, Reply will ensure that the notification gets the user's attention even if their phone is silent.

However, the idea behind the project is very promising. The feature was created to automatically suggest quick replies to emails based on the context of the messages received by the user. The app is now only being offered to Android users as part of a test, which select people have been invited to.

Google's internal incubator is working to expand the functionality into other major chat apps.

As per Android Police report, the request to test the app was sent out by Area 120, Google's workshop for experimental products.

If you're interested in testing out Reply and other applications from Area 120 in the future, your best bet is to sign up to join the incubator's Early Access Program.