Back at MWC we had an early look at the integration of Google Assistant into Messages but as is often the way we were not given a timeline on delivery for users. It seems that has now been answered with a number of sites reporting that there are code snippets in the latest APK showing that changes are ready for the server side options to be turned on with some users already seeing the options live.
From the demo we had previously, the functionality will be similar to Allo in that Assistant can’t be directly triggered in Messages. Rather it is (like other Google Devices) scanning for keywords that allow it to have some meaningful and contextual input into the conversation you’re having at the time which will include suggestions of restaurants if you’ve suggested dinner or movies to see if that’s been suggested. The Assistant options will pop up on your screen as a smart reply option based on a number of AI processed variables.
It is undoubtedly a bit step forward in messaging capabilities. My only question is who uses SMS regularly versus the plethora of messaging platforms at our disposal in the current era? Will this addition bring people back to SMS more often (let’s face it we all have that friend or relative who insists on using SMS including for sending pictures)?