Android Auto App Gains ‘Smart Reply’ Feature: How It Works

Android Auto has been updated with Smart Reply, the feature that allows users to respond to messages by tapping suggested replies generated by the system. While Android Auto does not allow users to type messages on the screen, Google’s app to access Android features and services on a car’s head unit now supports the same feature available to users on their smartphones while using messaging apps. The updated functionality has begun rolling out to users, months after it was initially announced.

The new Smart Reply feature was first announced by Google in December, as part a set of features announced for the Android Auto app. It has now started appearing on users’ vehicles, as spotted by 9to5Google. Users who are on the latest beta version of the app (or version 7.6.1215) should have access to smart replies when receiving messages on Android Auto, according to the report.

The Smart Reply feature in action on Android Auto, after a message is read out
Photo Credit: Google


As part of the new Smart Reply feature, users will be shown two suggested replies, such as “okay”, “no”, “I’m here” and “got it!” — which can come in handy when you need to send a quick response. The feature also occasionally offers a single emoji as one of the suggestions. Previously, users who wanted to reply to messages while inside their car would need to dictate them. You can still do so, by tapping the Custom Reply button on the top right corner of the popup.

Google has offered Smart Reply on smartphones since Android 9, when the feature was first introduced. The feature is designed to generate automated replies using on-device intelligence, which are then presented to a user under each message in the notification area. The feature is also offered as part of the Google Messages app, which also offers suggested replies to messages, in addition to support for actions like copying OTP codes,

The Smart Reply functionality for Android Auto was announced over four months ago, when Google revealed a handful of features that would be coming to Android Auto, including the ability to lock, unlock, and start compatible cars, as well as automatically launching the app when entering a vehicle, a new always-on play button for music, and searching for music with voice commands.

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