Last week, a new beta version of Gboard began rolling out via the Google Play Store. Today, some folks who use the Gboard beta are finding “Smart Compose” features in Google Messages.
For a quick refresher, Smart Compose is a feature that tries to help you complete your sentences by displaying the next few words as they would appear and letting you accept the completion by pressing tab on desktop or swiping right on Android. Smart Compose debuted in the 2018 Gmail redesign before making its way to Google Docs (only for G Suite customers) and now it seems it’s arriving for Gboard.
This afternoon, some of those who signed up for beta updates to Gboard, currently on version 22.214.171.1247844448, found that the Google Messages app now offers helpful completion suggestions. Just like Gmail and Docs, you can swipe right on the text to accept the suggestion, then resume typing on the keyboard. The first time a suggestion appears, you’re offered a quick explanation of what’s happening and how to accept a Smart Compose suggestion.
This is far from the first time Google Messages has offered suggestions for replies, with the SMS/MMS/RCS app offering single-tap replies as well as suggested stickers. Thankfully, by comparison, Smart Compose allows you to tweak the text after you’ve accepted the suggestion, rather than immediately sending.
For now, we’re not sure if Smart Compose is also tied to a specific version of Google Messages or just Gboard. The device I’ve personally seen it on is enrolled for beta versions of both Gboard and Google Messages, and a few readers/tipsters have confirmed the same. We do know for certain that Gboard is required, though, as switching to an alternative keyboard like SwiftKey will make Smart Compose cease to work.
Considering the Smart Compose feature appears to be powered by Gboard, it’s likely that it could pop up in other apps as well. That said, we haven’t yet spotted Smart Compose appearing anywhere other than Google Messages, but be sure to let us know in the comments if you happen to spot it elsewhere.
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