Google Messages Laced With AI-Generated Replies Reportedly In The Works

There is no denying that artificial intelligence is making deeper inroads into our lives with each passing day. While most recent discussions around AI have mostly been the result of the widespread popularity of new AI-based tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E, the din around AI will only get louder as more companies jump onto the bandwagon in the near future. Google, which was slightly late to the conversational AI chatbot party, recently opened access to its ChatGPT competitor — Google Bard — in select countries. While this is the first significant step Google has taken in the AI space, it certainly won't be the last.

When Google demoed Bard a few weeks ago, it also announced several AI-focused changes to core Google services like Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Translate. In addition, the company also discussed the enhanced capabilities that Google's existing Lens tool stands to gain with the company's AI push. Interestingly, what Google did not talk about at the time was the likelihood of AI entering the rather mundane world of text messages.

For most of 2022, Google Messages was a bone of contention between Apple and Google, with the latter trying all the tricks in its book to cajole Apple into adopting the RCS standard. That discussion has all but vanished as we approach the end of March 2023. However, Google's RCS-based messaging tool — Google Messages — is back in the news following a new report that talks about the possibility of Google adopting AI-generated auto-replies on future Android phones.

Soon: Contextually relevant replies with increased accuracy

The report comes courtesy of 9to5Google, which recently performed an apk teardown of an unreleased version of Google Messages. The teardown revealed the presence of several hitherto unseen features hidden within the code. The most noticeable of these was the looming possibility of deeper integration of Google Bard-based features. Another thing revealed by the teardown showed the likelihood of Google using a sparkle icon (similar to the one on Google Bard) to invoke Bard with a single tap. The button was located right next to the emoji button on the composition box of Google Messages.

While it is still early days, the presence of a button to invoke Bard could also mean that Google is possibly working on adding AI-generated replies to the Google Messages app. If implemented, these replies could work by analyzing the content of the message and suggesting a list of possible responses based on the context of the conversation. Note that these AI features will be a significant improvement over similar features already available on select Google apps, including Google Maps, Google Meet, and Gmail.

As always, the appearance of these possible AI-focused features on an unreleased version of Google Messages is no guarantee that the feature will make it to the stable version. However, what is evident from the apk teardown is that Google is likely several months away from developing a functional AI-based responder for Google Messages.