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Google may integrate Bard into Messages to enhance smart replies


Google may be looking to integrate Bard into Messages. The latest beta version of the messaging app contains hints of early work on generative AI (artificial intelligence) features that will generate replies for messages. The company has already bundled Bard or similar AI tools with many of its products, including Gmail and Docs.

Google Messages may soon offer AI-generated replies

Decompiling the APK for the latest beta version of Google Messages for Android, 9to5Google discovered a familiar-looking new button in the compose box. It’s the same “sparkle iconography” that Google uses for Bard and other AI-powered features across its products. The sparkle icon appears to the left of the emoji button in the compose field above your keyboard. For the time being, it’s pretty much non-functional. Tapping it types “(TODO!)” in the compose field and that’s it.

Google is seemingly indicating that the feature is in the early stage of development and it has a lot of work “to do”. But when ready, it appears to serve as a message generator that will contextually type responses based on the last incoming message. Bard or its AI language model LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) could power the feature. The AI-generated messages aren’t sent automatically, which is important. Tapping the button will type up the message but you can always review it and possibly edit or overwrite it before sending it.

The new AI tool could replace existing Smart Replies

AI-generated replies aren’t new to Google Messages. The messaging app already has a Smart Reply feature that suggests short responses based on the context of the most recent incoming message. The in-development generative AI feature may replace the existing solution. It’s better at generating longer, in-depth responses. Smart Reply can only suggest short phrases. Or maybe the two tools will exist side-by-side. Google could leave it to the users what type of responses they want to generate.

Unfortunately, it’s too early for us to confirm Google’s plans. But the company is certainly bringing a more powerful AI tool to Messages. We should get to learn more about the new feature in the coming months as Google progresses with its development. In the meantime, you can update the Google Messages app on your Android smartphone to receive recently-added new features such as contact photos in conversations and tweaked read receipts. You can click the button below to download the latest version of the app from the Google Play Store.


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