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What is Google's Magic Compose, and how does it work?

Expect access to grow as Google hammers out early flaws.

Published onDecember 14, 2023

Google is racing to compete with Microsoft when it comes to generative AI, and one of its early efforts is something called Magic Compose. Here we’ll explain what it is and how it works, as well as whether it’s even available to you.

What is Google’s Magic Compose?

Google IO 2023 magic compose

Google describes Magic Compose as an “experimental” feature within the Messages app for Android. Based on the context of a conversation, it suggests a series of possible canned responses to save time, or improvements to something you’ve written yourself. On top of this you can select between different tones and styles, such as Formal, Excited, Chill, or even Shakespearean. You can edit any selected response before sending it.

Magic Compose release date and availability

Google launched a Magic Compose beta on May 25, 2023. Access is extremely narrow at the moment, limited to people 18 or older with  an Android phone, a US SIM card, and their language set to English. On top of this Google One Premium members have priority placement, and Android Go devices are completely incompatible.

If you are eligible, you can sign up for beta testing by going to the Messages Play Store page and selecting Become a tester. You can exit the test via the same page.

How to use Google’s Magic Compose

If you’ve been confirmed as a beta tester, here’s how to use the feature.

  • Make sure RCS chats are enabled.
  • Open the Messages app and join or start an RCS conversation. You’ll see “RCS message” in the compose row.
  • Tap the Message suggestions icon, which looks like a speech bubble with a plus sign.
  • When Magic Compose is offered, tap Try it. If you don’t see this option, you may have to wait until Google expands access.
  • If you want an AI response generated from scratch, select one of the options presented. To change tone or style, you can tap the Rewrite suggestions icon, which looks like a pencil and star. Edit your message as necessary before hitting Send (the arrow icon).
  • To get suggestions for something you’ve already written, type something into the compose field then tap Rewrite suggestions. Pick a suggestion, edit if needed, and tap Send.

Note that you can also vote on the quality of Google’s suggestions, helping to improve your options over time.