- Google has rolled out its “Smart Compose” feature for Gmail.
- The AI-powered tool predicts common phrases and addresses for users — saving keyboard strokes and ultimately, time.
- Some are celebrating the time it can save, while others can’t get past the creepiness of having Google talk to your friends and colleagues on your behalf.
We may have all seen an increase in email productivity over the past week, but is that a good thing?
The bump in speed comes thanks (or no thanks – depending on your stance) to Gmail’s “Smart Compose” feature, rolled out to Gmail users as part of the recent redesign.
Like the name implies, the AI-powered feature recommends words to finish sentences so users don’t have to. Just review the text that Google suggest and press “tab” to accept. If you want to turn it on, go to your Settings in Gmail, and in the “General” tab, turn “Writing Suggests On.” You can turn it off the same way,
Google said that to start, the Smart Compose feature will simply “fill in common phrases and relevant addresses, like that of your home and office” as you type. Over time, however, the company said, “it will get smarter-learning your most-used greetings.”
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban – who famously responds to every email he receives – recently told Popular Science that he “absolutely loves” Smart Compose and that “it adds at least 30 minutes to my day.” Many across the internet share in Cuban’s affinity for the AI product that’s saving them time.
Come see Mark Cuban speak at Business Insider’s Ignition conference, December 3 & 4.
Still, not everybody is sold that speed doesn’t come at a cost or outweigh the creepy-factor. Some are heated over the prospect of a robot writing your personal messages. Interestingly, many seem concerned over what happens to human language when everybody uses the same exact AI-suggested wording.
Here are a few of our favourite reactions so far:
.@Gmail new #smartcompose is a cursed feature that over time and upgrades will homogenize and dumb down the English language and replace it with bland cookie-cutter phrases and why can’t these nerds see that and it’s stupid and awful and I hate it I hate it I hate it!!!!! pic.twitter.com/QLSOHP5pxq
— Matt Burgerhoff (@mburgerh) August 24, 2018
Some like it, but know it’s definitely a sign that the robots are coming.
Google's telling me how to write my email now. Smart Compose not only writes just like I do, it also constantly reminds me that the robots are coming and we won't recognize them because they learned to talk by watching us. pic.twitter.com/lXspUVAKOZ
— Dan Brown #FamiliesBelongTogether (@brownorama) October 3, 2018
Paul English, the co-founder and former CTO of Kayak, just wants Smart Compose to take over his email responses completely so he can take some time off.
I am loving Gmail Smart Compose, it is starting to work really well. But now I want fully autonomous email, where I can take a week off and have Gmail answer all my emails for me, as well as compose emails of other stuff that I'm thinking about. #ai #gmail
— Paul English (@englishpaulm) September 26, 2018
Others are feeling like it’s getting a little too personal. Why should Google be commenting on our social lives (or lack thereof)?
maybe I'm being overly sensitive but is Gmail's "smart compose" trying to call me a friendless loser pic.twitter.com/g5Wd3mkkx5
— caroline ????-as (@carolinematas) October 2, 2018
For most, however, it’s still too early to tell.
— Kristina Mattis, EdD (@kristinamattis) September 27, 2018
Google declined to comment on the future of the feature, beyond what’s in a blog entry it shared earlier this year.
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