Smart Replies may be cold and impersonal, but they’ve been handy if you’ve just wanted to acknowledge a work message or answer a simple question. And soon, you might not even have to open the app. The 9to5Google crew has discovered code references suggesting that Gboard may soon get Smart Replies. When an app supports it (Hangouts, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are a few examples), you could deliver a canned response to someone directly from a notification. As dispassionate as that might be, it could save you precious time if you just want to fire off a quick “be right there” while you’re racing to a lunch meeting.
The code also provides further hints of an option to create your own GIFs by recording them. Also, a “Universal Media Keyboard” may help you search for all kinds of content, although it’s not clear whether this is limited to cosmetic features like emoji and stickers or will include web material like news.
There’s no guarantee that these features will arrive in one of the near-term updates to Gboard, and there’s always a chance they’ll get cut. With that said, it’s hard to see Google ditching Smart Replies given how they’ve already pervaded multiple apps.