Launching first for desktop almost a year ago, Smart Compose for Gmail has been helping users to write emails by offering phrases based on their writing style.
Google expanded the handy feature to its Pixel 3 phones last fall, and this week appears to be rolling it out to all Android smartphones.
Typing with one or two fingers on a small smartphone keyboard can still be an intensely frustrating experience for some, with the message creation apparently requiring the kind of skills only available to crack surgeons with the steadiest of hands.
Any mobile app worth its salt offers word prediction to help you speed up your typing, but Gmail’s Smart Compose goes a step further and offers entire phrases for you to include or reject. While the feature pulls its suggestions from a database of commonly used phrases, the clever part is that it also bases its suggestions on precisely how you write.
Powered by artificial intelligence that analyzes your writing style, the offered phrases appear instantly in the body of the email in a color lighter than the typed text. So, for example, if you start typing, “Haven’t seen” then Smart Compose might offer to complete the phrase with “you in a while.”
If you want to include the offered words, you simply swipe across them. If not, they’ll disappear as soon as you continue typing. This is different from the desktop version, which requires you to hit the tab key to include the suggestion.
According to Android Police, which first spotted the rollout, you’ll see a pop-up telling you about Smart Compose when you next go to type an email. If it doesn’t appear to be working, make sure you have the latest version of Gmail loaded on your phone.
The feature is auto-enabled, but if you end up finding it more irritating than helpful, you can turn it off by entering the app’s settings, selecting the appropriate account, and then removing the check mark from the Smart Compose box.
Anyone can set up a free, web-based Gmail account. If you’re just getting started or could do with a refresher course on its numerous features, then Digital Trends’ articles on how to recall an email, how to use its privacy-focused confidential mode, and how to back up your Gmail content in case the cloud-based service suffers an outage.