The battle over how to make our lives more productive continues, especially on the email front. Baydin has spent the past six years helping people bring a degree of normalcy to their inbox through its Boomerang for Gmail plugin. This takes a scheduling approach — you can specify when you want to send or receive email. But solving distribution is just one part of the equation, as the more important problem is how to create impactful communication that requires fewer emails.
Enter Boomerang Respondable, a plugin for Gmail and Outlook that uses artificial intelligence (A.I.) to predict email replies and then makes suggestions about how to improve your writing and strike the right tone. Integrated directly into the Compose window of the support email client, this feature analyzes your writing style, taking into account such factors as word count, politeness, subjectivity, question count, and reading level to help you get your point across.
Gmail does have its Smart Reply feature, which offers prepackaged email responses, but Respondable doesn’t compete with it. Baydin’s tool isn’t a quick auto-responder. Instead, it provides real-time suggestions for how to improve your writing without interfering with your creativity or putting words in your mouth.
When implemented, Respondable scores your message based on the likelihood of your receiving a response and the variety of aforementioned factors. If one of these factors receives a poor ranking, the plugin will provide customized advice to help you improve it.
Baydin chief of product Aye Moah explained that the feature will be beneficial to users for two reasons: “We’re excited about the prospect of using machine learning to provide actionable writing advice based on data. Historically, authors of writing style guides have not had access to large samples of data about what kind of writing is effective…Second, a lot of recent news coverage about artificial intelligence has focused on the possibilities that machines can someday replace humans. Respondable doesn’t try to write important emails on your behalf. Instead, it helps you unlock your creativity. It’s an editor that works alongside you – and one that you can and should ignore when your judgment says otherwise.”
To use this feature, install the plugin for both Google and Outlook, which should work across all of your email addresses. Baydin said although it’s analyzing your email, it doesn’t transmit any message data anywhere for any reason. However, if you elect to use Respondable’s advanced machine learning features, Boomerang will pass along message data using enterprise-grade encryption, analyze it on a secure server, and pass it back through encrypted communication channels. All data is “immediately discarded” from the company’s servers.
Respondable is free to use, but if you’re interested in more advanced parameters, it’ll require a subscription to Baydin’s Boomerang for Gmail’s Pro and Premium plans, starting at $15 per user per month. The company explained that this is because these features need more complex implementation of machine learning done in real time, which is “expensive to provide.”
Users will only be able to use this feature on the desktop. “The vast majority of [users] wait to write important emails on desktop clients whenever possible,” Moah stated. “We’ve constructed the service in a way that will make it easy to bring to our Android and upcoming iPhone apps if users request it, though.”