Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, and these days there is plenty that helps us so much that we wonder how society ever went along without it.
But forget the neat home office assistants who answer to your voice commands or cars that drive themselves, because the next feature that could enter your life would make it so you do not actually have to put any thought or effort into responding to text messages or emails.
Which is great because really, who wants to do any of that?
Take the reply out of your hands
Soon, you may not have to.
While the concept may seem a bit strange, Google's Area 120 team is testing an updated version of its smart replies feature, which reads a text or email and generates three short responses it thinks you would send. The older version has been around since 2016 and used in Gmail's Inbox, though the new version, simply called Reply, would bring the technology to media like Facebook Messenger, Skype, Twitter, WhatsApp and Slack.
As designed, the feature -- which uses Google's neutral network to think things through, so to speak -- would come in handy when you are really not able to talk or spend any time crafting a response to a simple question. It would also be great for people who would prefer to spend less time staring at their phones.
In an email that went out to potential beta testers for Reply, an example of its benefit is if someone is asked when they can be home. The app will check your normal method of transportation and then provide an estimated time for when you should get home, which will emerge as an instant reply option.
You could also put it in Do Not Disturb mode, which will silence your phone and automatically reply to people that you cannot get back to them at that time.
It is unknown when Reply will be released to the public, but the fact that it is in beta testing now indicates the time may not be far off.
Your phone could also help save your life
Since smartphones keep us connected almost all the time, they can also be critical safety and distress signal tools in emergencies and times of dire need. Click here to learn more about how your phone could save your life.