clock menu more-arrow no yes

Gmail’s polarizing Smart Replies will soon be optional for desktop users

New, 7 comments

“That’s great!”

Google plans to give desktop users the ability to turn off Gmail’s new Smart Replies in the coming weeks, the Wall Street Journal reports. The feature, which arrived alongside the service’s recent redesign, attempts to provide short phrases which you can use to automatically respond to emails, but has faced criticism for suggesting some inappropriate responses.

The redesign is set to become the default for all 1.4 billion of Gmail’s active accounts next month, after its rollout started back in April. Although Google has said that it’s manually tweaked its algorithm to remove the most inappropriate Smart Reply responses (an earlier version of the software would reportedly respond using both “Sent from my iPhone” and “I love you” with alarming frequency), others have reported that Gmail’s suggestions sometimes don’t fit with a formal office tone, or can otherwise miss the context of an email.

Personally the only problem I’ve experienced was not realising the Smart Reply would be automatically sent to everyone CC’d on the message, resulting in two dozen people being bombarded with my message, “Sounds great, I’ll be there!”

Users of the Gmail app already have the ability to turn the feature off, but it won’t be long before desktop users get the same ability, removing the temptation to mindlessly use one of Google’s stock responses.