Writing a hand-crafted email to a distant friend might be fun, but many of our email messages are far less thrilling — consider emails for scheduling a pet sitter, contacting a physician for medical records or sending customer service requests.

At Wednesday’s Google I/O event, CEO Sundar Pichai announced a new feature that will automate creating some of those boring emails. Called “Help Me Write,” the new Google service will draft automated messages for you in Gmail, text messages and other Google apps.

With 1.8 billion active users of Gmail at the last count, Help Me Write is poised to have a major impact on the way that the world communicates via email. Learn more about how Help Me Write works and when it will be available to use in Gmail and other Google software.

For more on Google I/O, learn all about the foldable Pixel phone and the biggest new features announced for Android.

How will Help Me Write work in Gmail?

The new Help Me Write feature for generative AI email creation in Gmail will expand on the “Smart Compose” feature that Google introduced in 2018, as well as the “Smart Reply” feature added in 2017.

Whereas Smart Reply offers basic automated replies, and Smart Compose provides suggestions as you type, Help Me Write will go well beyond, creating a full email from a basic prompt. A “refine” button can shorten the text, elaborate or make the email more formal. You can then further edit the email manually or send it as is.

In his demo at Google I/O, Pichai used Help Me Write to draft an email asking for a full refund from an airline for a canceled flight. Help Me Write created an email from scratch using information gleaned from the airline’s emailed offer of a voucher.

When will Help Me Write be available to all Gmail users?

Help Me Write has been used by Google Docs and Gmail testers since March, and a similar group of Google testers will start using AI helpers for Google Sheets and Google Slides in June.

Pichai said that Help Me Write will be officially launched to Google users with an update to Google Workspace, but there is no firm timetable yet. 

For more, here’s what to know about Google’s Bard AI and the company’s AI-powered search engine.

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