Google’s Circle to Search: Everything you need to know

From Search Generative Experience to Multi-Search in Lens to Assistant with Bard, there’s no shortage of Google’s AI-infused services. But a recently announced ‘Circle to Search’ feature is receiving a lot of attention, and rightly so, as it simplifies Search and makes the process of looking things up ridiculously easy. Here’s everything you need to know about the soon-to-be-launched Circle to Search feature.

What is Google’s Circle to Search?

As Google integrates AI deeper and deeper into its services, there’s a garden variety of services that are being updated or introduced for the first time. Circle to Search is one such feature that’s undoubtedly going to change the way you search and interact with information on the web. 

A new way to Search: Circle to Search

At the risk of sounding obvious, Circle to Search will let you highlight and search for any element on your screen –  texts within reels and videos, images of unknown articles of clothing, unfamiliar corndog toppings, a pair of rad sunglasses worn by your favorite celebrity – all without switching the app.

All you need to do is draw a circle around the element and Google will slide up to show you a whole page of information (including SGE material) about the highlighted content. 

Image: Blog.Google

Note that although it’s called Circle to Search, you can highlight, scribble, or simply tap on whatever it is that you want to search. Those who use navigation buttons can press and hold the Home button to activate Circle to Search.

The unlimited potential for Circle (or Highlight, Scribble, or Tap) to Search

Anyone with an elephant’s memory will see glaring similarities between Circle to Search and the 2015 Android feature called ‘Now on Tap’. However, the latter was soon scrapped and hasn’t seen the light of day since. Circle to Search looks to be based, at least in principle, on the same idea.

Image: Blog.Google

But, with years of research and development behind them, and a year’s worth of active AI data, Circle to Search looks promising enough to make a deep impact this time around.

So what are some real-world applications of Circle to Search? Let’s consider a few possibilities:

  1. Look up information on unknown and unfamiliar topics. 
  2. Find out about purchaseable items in a video or an image, including where to get them.
  3. Take a deep dive into what’s trending and fashionable.
  4. When used in conjunction with Google Lens, get a deeper understanding of the things around you, such as plants, board games, museums, roads, etc.

Release date and availability

Circle to Search will launch on 31st January 2024. It will initially be available only on a few Android smartphones, including the Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro, and the new Samsung Galaxy S24 series. 

Google hasn’t given a release date for when Circle to Search will be available generally for other less-premium smartphones. However, one can expect such things to usually trickle down to the rest of us in a few months. 

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