Google starts test with app for automatic replies in popular chat apps

Google’s Area 120 team, which works on experimental apps, has made a beta of Reply available to testers. The app can send automatic replies or generate responses within popular chat apps such as WhatsApp and Slack.

The existence of the Google Reply app came out last week via XDA Developers, among others, when testers received an email about it. The test started on Tuesday and the apk has also become available via websites such as apkmirror. The app works on devices with Android 7.0 or newer.

Google Reply is an app that makes it possible to automatically reply to a received message in various chat apps. The app can also generate answers, which the user can choose themselves. Reply uses the technology that is already in Google Inbox for this.

For now, the test version works with Twitter, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Slack and Whatsapp, but a teardown of the apk by XDA Developers shows that Reply will probably work with more apps. There are already icons for Google Allo, Blackberry Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, Kakao, Signal, Telegram and WeChat.

The Reply app replaces notifications from chat apps with its own notifications, from which users can send a ‘smart’ response. The smart responses make use of data from, for example, the agenda, or respond to the user’s location. When users send generated responses, a robot emoticon will appear next to it. This should make it clear to the recipient that it is not a text typed by the sender.

Furthermore, more Automatic Reply Triggers have been found in the APK. Currently, the app can send an automatic response if the user is in a vehicle, cycling or running. For example, Google Reply will send “[Your name] is running right now.” The apk also already contains code to send an automatic response when the user is near a beacon, using headphones or in a certain place.