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October 11, 2018

Google’s shutting down its experimental Reply app

by John_A

Earlier this month, Google’s Area 120 experimental division announced its latest creation – an Android app called “Reply.” Reply essentially brings Allo’s Smart Reply feature to all of your communication apps, and it’s now available for anyone to download.

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Reply is still in beta, and if you want to download it, you’ll need to sideload the APK file as it isn’t available on the Play Store. Assuming you’re comfortable doing this and have a phone running Android 7.0 or later, getting Reply is just a few taps away.

Updated October 10, 2018: Google’s shutting down Reply

Around 3:00 PM EST today, Area 120 sent out an email to Reply users announcing that it’s shutting the app down. The email reads:

You’re receiving this email because you installed the Reply app from Area 120 at Google. Thanks for doing that!

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.

We worked with teams in Google to make sure the ideas and learnings from Reply will live on in other Google products.

Once you open the app, sign in with your Google account, and enable notification access, you’ll get a quick rundown of all the features Reply has to offer. In addition to automated responses based on the context of a conversation you’re having, Reply can also generate responses using your location data, send a heap of automatic replies based on your work calendar and certain keywords, and more.

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I tested out Reply for a few minutes on my Pixel 2, and whether I was using Android Messages, Hangouts, or Facebook Messenger, it worked just as it’s advertised. The suggested replies are certainly what users will interact with the most, but if you take some time to set up all the automation features Reply has to offer, you could turn it into a really powerful tool.

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There are still some bugs here and there (I personally wasn’t able to set my home or work address), but even so, it’s remarkable how well Reply works in such an early form. If you want to give it a try, you can download it here.

Reply wants to add Smart Replies to all your messaging apps

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