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Google is on a quest to add AI capabilities to all of its services, and Messages is no exception. Announced at Google I/O 2023, the company rolled out Magic Compose to the chat app, which allows you to use AI to answer messages or get reformulated versions of your own texts before sending them. The feature has been exclusive to the US for a long time, but now, it’s finally starting to roll out to other regions.
- Google introduced Magic Compose to Google Messages, bringing AI capabilities to help users draft and rewrite messages.
- The feature is now rolling out to regions outside the US, with reports of it working in France, the UK, and Germany.
- While Magic Compose currently relies on off-device language models, Google is testing a locally-run alternative on the Google Pixel 8 Pro for Gboard and WhatsApp.
For many people around the globe, a new pencil or speech bubble button is showing up below the text box in Google Messages chats, as spotted by 9to5Google and corroborated by us. Tapping the button opens a panel below the text box, telling you that you can “Write the perfect message magically with AI.” There is also a warning that your messages will be sent to Google servers in the process, but deleted right after rewrite suggestions are generated. Google also says the data is not used to feed the large language model.
Once you’ve acknowledged the privacy heads-up around Magic Compose, you can start using the feature. Depending on how many messages there are already in the chat, Magic Compose will either generate replies for you or ask you to draft a message in the text box for it to start working.
When you write in the text box and tap the button, you will see generated options that rewrite your message. You can choose from a few ready-made styles with the usual suspects like formal, excited, short, but there are also more fun ones like Chill, Lyrical, and Shakespeare. When you use the feature to generate answers, you only get a handful of responses without the option to set different moods.
It also looks like there are two different versions of the feature, with our device showing a pencil icon while 9to5Google’s screenshots show a speech bubble.
9to5Google received reports of Magic Compose working in France and in the UK, and we can corroborate that it’s available for us in Germany. We’re using a local SIM card but have our device set to English (US). The publication further explains that you need to use the beta versions of both Google Messages and Carrier Services, though for us, it looks like it’s enough to be in the Google Messages beta only.
While Magic Compose leverages an off-device large language model (LLM), it’s possible that Google is working on making it run locally on phones. The company is currently testing its most advanced LLM, Gemini, on the Google Pixel 8 Pro. The flagship phone runs a ‘Nano’ version of the model, which is small enough to fit on the device, and powers auto-generated replies in WhatsApp when you use Gboard. In our testing, Gemini Nano’s capabilities are a lot more limited than Magic Compose, so there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to get it up to par with the Google Messages feature.