Google’s SmartReply, the four-year-old, A.I.-based technology that helps suggest responses to messages in Gmail, Android’s Messages, Play Developer Console and elsewhere, is now being made available to YouTube Creators. Google announced today the launch of an updated version of SmartReply built for YouTube, which will allow creators to more easily and quickly interact with their fans in the comments.
The feature is being rolled out to YouTube Studio, the online dashboard creators use to manage their YouTube presence, check their stats, grow their channels and engage fans. From YouTube Studio’s comments section, creators can filter, view and respond to comments from across their channels.
For creators with a large YouTube following, responding to comments can be a time-consuming process. That’s where SmartReply aims to help.
Instead of manually typing out all their responses, creators will be able to instead click one of the suggested replies to respond to comments their viewers post. For example, if a fan says something about wanting to see what’s coming next, the SmartReply feature may suggest a response like “Thank you!” or “More to come!”
Unlike the SmartReply feature built for email, where the technology has to process words and short phrases, the version of SmartReply designed for YouTube has to also be able to handle a more diverse set of content — like emoji, ASCII art or language switching, the company notes. YouTube commenters also often post using abbreviated words, slang, and inconsistent use of punctuation. This made it more challenging to implement the system on YouTube.
Google detailed how it overcame these and other technical challenges in a post on its Google AI Blog, published today.
In addition, Google said it wanted a system where SmartReply only made suggestions when it’s highly likely the creator would want to reply to the comment and when the feature is able to suggest a sensible response. This required training the system to identify which comments should trigger the feature.
At launch, SmartReply is being made available for both English and Spanish comments — and it’s the first cross-lingual and character byte-based version of the technology, Google says.
Because of the approach SmartReply is now using, the company believes it will be able to make the feature available to many more languages in the future.