No More ‘Seen-Zone’ with Google’s New Reply Bot

Technology
No More ‘Seen-Zone’ with Google’s New Reply Bot PHOTOGRAPH: JESHOOTS/Pixabay under Creative Commons |

Google is reportedly beta-testing a new bot which if made available will finally put a stop on being “seen-zoned.” No more messages left unanswered like a high-five left hanging in the air.

The new bot called “Reply” will also be beneficial for those reluctant chatters and those who are always on the go and could not even respond to chat messages. “Reply” is designed similarly to Gmail’s Smart Reply which was launched two years ago. It uses artificial intelligence in suggesting responses to emails in Gmail, Hangouts and Allo apps in a single tap. “Reply” will work similarly on practically all popular messaging services, including Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Android Messages, Skype, Twiteer DMs, and slack.

Aside from one-click responses, “Reply” will also make available automatic replies to enable users to let people know when they are busy and cannot attend to their phones. Indeed, it’s an end to the “seen-zone.”

Reports suggested that Google is seeking beta-testers to try out the new bot. So far, testing is limited to Google’s Area 120, the site for products that are still in experimental stage.

Based on “Reply’s” sign-up form on the web, which everybody can try by the way, the bot can use the user’s location to send an instant response to the inquiries like “when can you be home?” “Reply” can be as intelligent as identifying the user’s mode of transport in travelling and can calculate the user’s arrival time to his or her registered address. Its calculation will be included in the user’s instant reply options.

“Reply” also comes with a Do Not Disturb Mode where the bot can silence the user’s phone and automatically chats everyone that the user is not available for chatting. The mode suits users who are always on the road driving.

On the flip side, “Reply” makes sure that it gets the attention of the user even if his or her phone is in silent mode if it detects that the chat is urgent. The bot can also check users’ calendar and tell people if he or she isn’t working, particularly if the user gets a chat saying “we’re waiting for you.”

According to a spokesman for the team working on “Reply,” the bot is specially designed to make people connect to the outside world. “You probably get a lot of chat messages. And you want to be there for people, but also for people in the real world. [So] What if replying were literally one tap away?”