LinkedIn’s new smart replies help you manage your messages faster

If you’re a professional using LinkedIn and you’re just too busy to tap out full and meaningful replies when you’re hurtling through your messages between meetings, then the app’s new smart replies feature is likely to come in handy.

Announced on Tuesday, October 24, smart replies uses machine learning to offer phrases that will fit your LinkedIn messaging conversation (hopefully) as you converse with a co-worker, client, or companion.

You may already be familiar with such a feature, as Google has been working it into some of its own apps since last year. It even has the same name.

So how does it work? Well, say your co-worker — the one sitting within earshot of you in the office — decides to message you instead of looking up from their smartphone and asking, “Do you have free time this week for coffee?”, then your app’s smart replies feature will offer you up to three one-tap responses, such as, “yes I do,” “sure,” and “what time?” So in this case, should you want to decline their invitation, you’ll have to type out your reason, or call across to them to explain why you can’t go.

“The conversations you have on LinkedIn can open up a variety of opportunities, ranging from making  an introduction to your next boss to getting valuable advice from a peer in your industry,” LinkedIn senior product manager Arpit Dhariwal wrote in a post announcing the feature. “But we know that finding the time to reply or simply be responsive to incoming messages can sometimes be a challenge with everything else you have going on.”

Dhariwal said LinkedIn developers are currently working to make the feature more personal “so that the suggestions are even more fitting for the conversation you’re having.” That could include something like adding the name of the person you’re messaging with, so you might see a response like “Thanks, Joe!” instead of a straightforward “Thanks.”

Smart replies are rolling out to users around the world in English for the LinkedIn mobile app and on desktop; other languages are on the way.

While critics of smart replies slam them for being impersonal and cold, for busy business types the feature is going to come in handy for quick responses that save time.

And if you find LinkedIn’s smart replies to be a little bit fake, then you can banish the feature from your app by turning them off in settings.

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