Smart Reply for Google's Inbox Gmail app comes to the web

You can now let Google reply to your email when using Inbox by Gmail on the web.

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You'll do less typing when responding to emails with Google's Smart Reply.

Image: iStock

Google has rolled out Smart Reply suggested responses to the web version of Inbox, its next generation email app for Gmail users.

Smart Reply, which has been on the Inbox app for a few months, relies on a trained system consisting of a pair of neural networks that interpret email and offer sensible short responses. The first network encodes words from incoming email while the second cooks up a grammatically correct reply.

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The responses are generally very short, such as "I like the first one", "Got it, will do", or "Will do, thanks". But it also knows which emails need a response and which ones don't, such as newsletter and marketing messages.

As of Tuesday, Smart Reply's suggested responses are available on the desktop when using Inbox on the web.

It does beg the question: why would Inbox users on a laptop need Smart Reply when they don't face the same constraints on typing as they do on a smartphone?

As Google noted at the time it launched Smart Reply, the feature is handy for mobile users: according to Google around 10 percent of Inbox replies on mobile are written by its machine-learned system.

But Google also thinks Smart Reply will be useful for people who need to whizz through a tonne of email on a laptop.

As with the Inbox mobile app, Smart Reply on the web will offer up three suggested responses located in the reply panel. The user simply clicks a response and hits send.

Read more about Google Inbox