The Smart Reply feature seen in the likes of Google's Allo and Gmail mobile apps is going to be coming to Android Messages in the near future, at least for Project Fi subscribers. The feature will manifest as a list of context-based suggestions just above the keyboard, in much the same way that it does for other apps that have Smart Reply on board. The feature has just started its rollout for Fi customers today, so not everybody will have it right away. Once the feature reaches you, it should turn on and start displaying Smart Reply messages automatically. There is no announced date at this time as to when Android Messages users outside of the Fi customer base will be getting the new feature.
Smart Reply messages will pop up just above the keyboard, as noted above, when available. A single tap is all it will take for users who have the feature to send a Smart Reply over SMS or Rich Communication Services, though you can also swipe left or right to scroll the available Smart Reply messages. Just as in other apps with the feature, these replies are generated based on the context of the conversation, taking such factors as who you're talking to, where the conversation has gone so far, and of course what the other person is saying or asking, all into account.
Smart Reply is yet another example of Google flexing its considerable AI muscle in consumer-facing products, a specialty that the company has been growing increasingly adept at in the past few years. Natural Language Processing blends with other facets of machine learning and neural networking, allowing the Smart Reply function to not only understand text to a certain extent, but also to synthesize what it gleans from those pieces of text into an understanding of what's going on in a conversation. Environmental factors play a role, as well, adapting to where a user is and what they're doing when they receive and answer a message. The beauty of Smart Reply is in the fact that it's purely optional, and is integrated with existing apps in such a way that it can be ignored entirely, if a user would rather simply type out their replies.