New Smart Compose in Gmail helps users composing messages

This month, Google introduced a new feature called Smart Compose that helps users draft emails from scratch, faster. Smart Compose is powered by artificial intelligence.

To be able to help users to compose messages — whether users are responding to an incoming email or drafting a new one from scratch – Google research is using neural networks, combined the BoW model with an RNN-LM. According to Google, this make it “faster than the seq2seq models with only a slight sacrifice to model prediction quality. In this hybrid approach, Google encode the subject and previous email by averaging the word embeddings in each field. Google then join those averaged embeddings, and feed them to the target sequence RNN-LM at every decoding step, as the model diagram above shows.”

A chart of Neural Networks

The challenges for the Smart Compose were: Latency – it must respond ideally within 100ms for the user not to notice any delays – Scale – Gmail is used by more than 1.4 billion diverse user – Fairness and Privacy – Google had to adhere to the same rigorous user privacy standards as Smart Reply, making sure that Google models never expose user’s private information.

Google says that researchers had no access to emails, which meant they had to develop and train a machine learning system to work on a dataset that they, themselves, cannot read.

How to activate Smart Compose on Gmail?

Smart Composing is available on Gmail under Settings, General, scroll down and enable “experimental access.” To switch back, users can uncheck the box.