New Way to Search: Google launches new AI-powered Circle to Search feature

New Way to Search: Google launches new AI-powered Circle to Search feature

New Way to Search: Google launches new AI-powered Circle to Search feature

Google has introduced a brand new feature at the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S24 series, called Circle to Search. The new feature, that does exactly what its name implies, is actually a pretty innovative functionality that allows users to tap a button, circle an item on their phone screen and instantly receive a page filled with Google search results related to the circled item.

Initially launching on Samsung’s Galaxy S24 series and Google’s Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, Circle to Search is set to expand to other “select, premium” Android phones in the future.

While reminiscent of Google Lens, Circle to Search offers the added convenience of accessibility from anywhere on the device.

Users can activate the feature by long-pressing the home button in three-button navigation or using the navigation handle in gesture navigation, making it appear on top of the current app or screen. The tool allows circling, highlighting, or tapping on subjects, including both text and images.

In a brief demo on a Galaxy S24, the feature showcased effective subject isolation and provided relevant search results.

While not a revolutionary method of internet searching, Circle to Search offers a practical solution, eliminating the tedious process of taking screenshots, switching apps, and selecting images for searches.

Contrary to its name, the Circle to Search feature on Android is more about engaging with text or images on the screen to initiate a search, rather than relying solely on circling gestures. While circling is one option for triggering a search, other gestures can also be used for a seamless search experience.

For example, if watching a video or viewing a photo and wanting to identify a specific item, users can employ circling gestures. However, if chatting about a restaurant in a messaging app, a simple tap on the restaurant’s name can prompt a search for more details. Another option is swiping across a series of words to turn them into a search query, as demonstrated with the term “thrift flip” in a YouTube Shorts video about thrifting.

In scenarios where the user is interested in something visual on the screen, circling or scribbling gestures can be employed. Google suggests circling sunglasses in a video or scribbling on boots to explore related items on Google without the need to switch between different apps. The scribble gesture is applicable to both images and words.

Search results may vary based on the query and the user’s participation in Google Labs products. Simple text searches may yield traditional results, while queries combining text and images, referred to as “multisearch,” utilize generative AI. Users participating in Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) experiment via Google Labs can expect AI-powered answers for relevant queries within the SGE framework.

The feature seamlessly integrates into the user experience, feeling like an intuitive capability that should have been present from the start.

The launch of Circle to Search coincides with an update to Google’s multisearch feature. This enhancement to an existing Lens feature enables users to refine visual searches with complex questions.

For instance, a picture of a plant can be accompanied by the question, “How often should I water this?” The upgraded multisearch, available in the Google app starting today, allows users to delve deeper into understanding the reasons behind things, not just identifying them. However, this feature is currently limited to the US on both Android and iOS devices.