Reply should have some intelligent features as well, such as a “sorry I can’t talk” driving mode and a vacation responder to stop coworkers from bugging you when you’re off the clock. It should also punch through silent mode if there’s an urgent message demanding your attention.
The effort is very early — Area 120 is still soliciting users willing to give it a shot. It’s going to be a while before it arrives, and it might not support every app on the list. If it works as promised, though, it could make Smart Replies a mainstay across Android, not just within Google’s ecosystem. As cold and impersonal as they can be, they do the job when you just need to acknowledge a message.