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Did You See Gmail's Latest Addition?

You might remember that we talked about Gmail in my blog post, “What Else Can You Do With Your Email? Two Tips for Gmail. Google’s 20th birthday was September 27th and it seems fitting that we revisit this free Internet email program and check out two new enhancements that you may want to take advantage of.  

Smart Composing and Responding

The two new features are aimed at helping you answer emails quicker. We all could use time-saving help as we go about answering emails and Google has what they believe is part of the answer to your email routine. These two new features are Smart Compose and Smart Response.  

Smart Compose

Smart Compose might remind you of a Google search feature you’re probably already using. When you conduct a search on Google you may notice that Google tries to “guess” or anticipate what you want to search for. As you type, Google provides you a list of possibilities. This feature allows you to stop typing and simply click on the correct search term(s). This helps you to type less and get to searching quicker.


Google Search
Auto-fill as you type feature (click to enlarge)

The new Smart Compose feature in Gmail does something similar. According to Google's blog, The Keyword , Smart Compose is a "new machine learning-powered feature which suggests phrases to help you complete sentences in your emails so that you can draft them quicker."[1] So as you type, Gmail tries to anticipate what word or words you are going to type next. It shows the anticipated words in gray. If you want to accept what Gmail suggests, just click the Tab key. If you don’t want to use Google’s suggestions, just keep typing.

Smart Reply

Smart Reply also helps you to answer emails quicker by suggesting responses that you will find at the bottom of the email you are typing. This is a great feature when someone’s email just requires a quick reply such as “Thanks so much” or “That’s awesome.” If the appropriate response is suggested, simply click on the response you want and send your email. If you don’t like the suggestions, go ahead and reply as you normally would. 

Gmail responses
Sample Smart Replay Options in Gmail

It's important to note that these "canned" responses aren't available for every email reply you write. I'm sure as the technology is perfected we'll see more of these each time we reply to an email. 

Right now this technology doesn’t write your emails for you but with time it might provide you enough assistance that it can cut down on some of the repetitive responses you find yourself sending in emails.


[1] “5 ways the new Gmail can help you get more done,” The Keyword ( accessed 1 October 2018).


Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.



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There's also a built-in draft feature in most e-mail programs where you can save and reuse basic e-mails if you find yourself sending a lot of the same things such as requesting information from other researchers, or requesting look-ups from libraries, newspaper and periodical collections, genealogy associations, cemeteries, funeral homes, etc. Some can be saved as templates in programs such as Outlook or Thunderbird.

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