Google introduced a new app called 'Reply' earlier this year for its Android users, with an aim to expand Allo's Smart Reply feature to native as well as third party apps. The app has been in testing since February, and now the company has sent out an email to its beta testers that the app is being put to rest. The app was born out of Google's Area 120 division - an arm that specialises in experimental products.
The search giant has now sent out an email to beta testers, confirming that it is ending support for Reply. The email (as reported by The Verge) reads, "As you know, Reply was an experiment, and that experiment has now ended. While it might still work for the next few months, you may encounter bugs, or see that the suggestions aren't as good," Google wrote in an email to beta testers." Google says that it is likely to include its learning from 'Reply' into Gmail's Smart Compose and Smart Reply services.
Reply used contextual machine learning to offer the best possible replies for message notifications from any third-party app - be it Slack, Hangouts, or Messenger. The report says that Reply often reproduced bland responses lacking appropriate tone, and also tended to offer 'I love you' as the default third response regardless of what the conversation context is.
While Reply's time has come to an end, expect to see shadows of it in Gmail's Smart Compose or Android Messages' Smart Reply in the future. Google is reportedly working on rolling out Gboard smart reply suggestions as well, for notifications of various apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and more. This will work with the quick reply button that usually succeeds a message in the notification panel.