Google Gives Android Users A Gesture-Based Superpower With Circle To Search

hero SGE
Google searches on Android are getting cooler and more versatile with two new Google Search features. One of those is called Circle to Search, which enables users to search for anything without switching apps activated with simple gesture. The other is a Gemini-powered multi-search experience where you just point your camera at something, ask a question, and AI will provide help.

Here's a look at Circle to Search in action...

Google's new tricks ups its already strong Search game. Adding to the already powerful and fun ways of obtaining information, such as through Lens and Hum to Search, the Mountain View outfit calls the new function Circle to Search, although users can also highlight and scribble (not just circle) to activate it as well.

How it works, for example, is while browsing your social feeds, you come across some shades or shoes you like, but that the creator hadn't tagged the item(s). By using the current gesture to launch the Google Search bar, Circle to Search activates and pauses the app. You can then draw (or scribble) around the item you need information on and Google will provide relevant shopping results. Google demonstrates other uses for Circle to Search (such as highlighting confounding crossword clues or contextual picture search), but these honestly look very similar to using Lens as it is.

AI Lens
With AI-powered Lens, you can chat to add contextual results.

Speaking of Lens, Google's generative AI Gemini is being integrated into Lens' visual multi-search flow. Presently, Lens can search both with images and text when users point their cameras at an object (or upload a photo or screenshot). Through AI, users are given the ability to ask more complex and nuanced questions to obtain the information they need. For instance, you can ask Google "How do I play this?" when you come across a game you've never seen before or have no instructions for. 

Circle to Search rolls out globally on January 31, beginning with the Pixel 8 and the newly-minted Samsung Galaxy S24 series. AI-powered Lens will be a server-side push, but is currently limited to US users (English only), or if you're enrolled in SGE (Search Generative Experience) program.