Since the launch of its most recent email app, Inbox, Google has lauded its ability to function like an assistant.

This latest feature means that Inbox now acts more like a personal aide than ever before. “Smart Reply” uses artificial intelligence to suggest replies to your emails as you view them.

Google inbox smart replies

Smart Replies to roll out later this week

According to Google, Inbox users on both iOS and Android will start to see the feature later this week. The feature looks fairly similar to predictive text, with suggested replies popping up on your screen as you type. The difference is that instead of individual words the app will display up to three short sentences.

“For those emails that only need a quick response, it can take care of the thinking and save precious time spent typing. And for those emails that require a bit more thought, it gives you a jump start so you can respond right away,” software engineer Bálint Miklós writes.

Although the basic premise may sound simple, Miklós explains that it took a lot of work to get it working properly. The feature uses machine learning techniques to draw out relevant responses in real time, meaning that the feature should improve over time as more people start to use it.

System will improve over time thanks to machine learning techniques

During the first round of testing Miklós reveals that a commonly suggested phrase was “I love you,” which you might not want to send to work colleagues. He says that inappropriate replies have now been tweaked out of the system.

For those interested in learning more about the technology which made the feature possible, Google has published a research blog on the subject. Normal users will soon be able to use the feature for themselves, although it is not yet clear how much of an impact Smart Replies will have.

Perhaps more important;y it provides us with an idea of how Google is using artificial intelligence to search for ways of improving daily life. Answering emails takes up a huge amount of time for many people, and a feature that makes such a mundane task easier will surely be welcomed.