Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled two new features at Google’s I/O 2018 developer conference on Tuesday: Google Assistant, which makes AI phone calls, and the email-writing Smart Compose.
Pichai introduced the new Google Assistant feature with a simple premise. “Let’s say you want to ask Google to make you a haircut appointment on Tuesday between 10 and noon,” he said. “What happens is that Google Assistant makes the call seamlessly in the background for you. So what you’re gonna hear is the Google Assistant actually calling a real salon to schedule the appointment for you. Let’s listen.”
The two parties—one being your traditional human being and the other an advanced AI—seamlessly conversed and set up a time for the appointment, the kind of salon treatment, and more. Pichai made another call for a dinner reservation that went just as smooth.
Smart Compose, a new Gmail feature soon to hit users, is pretty impressive as well—particularly for those of us who hate crafting inane emails. According to a Google blog post, Smart Compose is an upcoming function that will be able to write entire emails for you. More specifically, Smart Compose "suggests complete sentences in your emails."
But you'll have to give it some guidance. The function "operates in the background" but will suggest as you type. If you want to go with Google's suggestion, you can hit the "tab" button. The new function won't just help you get over the menial task of email writing though. Google says it will help writers in "cutting back on repetitive writing, while reducing the chance of spelling and grammatical errors."
Smart Compose will also offer timely phrases. "For example, if it's Friday it may suggest 'Have a great weekend!' as a closing phrase," read the Google post.
The new feature will be available in "the new Gmail for consumers" in addition to G Suite users in the workplace. Gmailers can use it now as well by heading to Settings then hitting "Try the new Gmail." Then they'll go to the general tab, and scroll down to turn on "experimental access." It's reversible by just unchecking that box.
Smart Compose is a far more advanced version of Smart Reply, a feature Google rolled out last year that gives users preset responses to quickly reply to emails.