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Here’s how to use Gmail Smart Compose right now

The feature that finishes your emails for you is live

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The new Gmail feature that's meant to finish your sentences is now live — an A.I. ability that learns how you compose emails, and makes suggestions as you write.

You need to have a Gmail account, and you need to be using the new Gmail interface to access Smart Compose, which is considered one of the app's experimental features. As you write emails, words appear in lighter colored type, suggestions you can choose to use or not.

For example, as I typed out an email reply regarding an upcoming meeting, Google's Smart Compose suggested "very well" after I entered "ve." More helpful was the way the feature started my emails, adding the "Hi Linda" to one, "Hi H" to another person — and someone I actually do refer to as "H" instead of their full name.

On another email, there were suggestions at the bottom on how to quickly respond, "Thank you!" Or "Thanks, you too!" I am not a fan of using exclamation points in work emails — so I have some hope that Smart Compose will so some self-editing on these hyper energetic responses as we start working together.

Clicking the "tab" key accepts the suggestions, "return" eliminates the suggestions. That took a minute of two to get used to — which resulted in my deleting a lot of the suggested type. The entire idea of using A.I. is that it should get smarter as you use the feature — learning from your behavior to make more intelligent suggestions for you.

If you want to try it on your own, just follow the steps below. Just note that you may have to go out of Settings, and then back in, as I did, before you see "Smart Compose" as an option under "General." From there, selecting "Smart Compose" is easy, just look for the only feature with a little chemistry flask icon next to it.

Here's how to launch Smart Compose:

  1. Launch Gmail at a computer. You can't turn the feature on through your smartphone.
  2. Go to "Settings"
  3. You'll need to either run the new Gmail, or click on "Try the new Gmail" at this stage
  4. Now click on "General," and then "Experimental Access"
  5. Click on "Experimental Access" and then "Save"


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