“Revolutionize Your Android Experience with Google’s ‘Circle to Search’ Feature: An Effortless Gesture-Based Search Method”

Alongside Samsung’s launch event today, Google announced a new way to search on Android phones dubbed “Circle to Search.” The feature will allow users to search from anywhere on their phone by using gestures like circling, highlighting, scribbling, or tapping. The search results users will see will differ based on their query and the Google Labs products they opt into. For a simple text search, you may see traditional search results while a query that combines an image and text — or “multisearch” as Google calls it — uses generative AI. The feature was one of several Google AI announcements across Gemini, Google Messages, and Android Auto announced at today’s event. Over time, more Android smartphones will support the feature, Google says.

Alongside Samsung’s recent launch event, Google has announced a revolutionary method for searching on Android devices known as “Circle to Search.” This feature allows users to search from anywhere on their phone using a variety of gestures including circling, highlighting, scribbling, or tapping. The added functionality aims to make it more instinctive to engage with Google Search whenever a question arises – from watching a video, browsing pictures on a social media app, or chatting with a friend.

“Circle to Search is a misnomer for this cutting-edge capability,” states Google. The focus is on interactively engaging with text or images on the screen, rather than solely relying on a circular gesture.

The circling gesture is just one of several options for initiating a search. For instance, when trying to identify an item in a video or photo, circling it and asking “Why are these so popular?” will pull up relevant results.

Other gestures can also activate the feature. While chatting with a friend about a restaurant on a messaging app, simply tapping the name of the restaurant will provide more information. Additionally, swiping across a string of words can trigger a search – such as the term “thrift flip” appearing while watching a YouTube Shorts video about thrifting.

When interested in a visual aspect on the screen, users can circle or scribble around the item. Google suggests circling the sunglasses a content creator is wearing in a video or scribbling on their boots to search for related items on Google, without needing to switch between apps. This scribbling gesture works on both images and text, notes Google.

Search results will vary based on the query and any Google Labs products a user has selected. Simple text searches may produce traditional results, while combination queries of text and images – or “multisearch” – will use generative AI. If users are participating in Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) experiment, AI-generated answers will be provided, as with other SGE queries.

Google predicts that the ability to access search from any app will be significant, as it eliminates the need to interrupt what a user is doing or take a screenshot as a reminder to search for something later on.

However, this feature is also arriving at a time when Google Search’s impact is declining. The internet has become filled with SEO-optimized pages and spam, making it increasingly challenging to find accurate results through search. At the same time, generative AI chatbots are now being utilized to enhance, or even replace, traditional searches. This could negatively affect Google’s core advertising business if more individuals start turning to alternative sources for answers.

Turning the entire Android phone platform into a surface for search is not just an impactful change for consumers – it is also an acknowledgement that Google’s Search business needs to be strengthened through a deeper integration with the smartphone operating system itself.

The feature was one of several Google AI announcements at today’s event, spanning Gemini, Google Messages, and Android Auto. It coincides with the introduction of a new AI-powered overview function for multisearch in Google Lens.

Circle to Search will launch on January 31 on the new Galaxy S24 Series smartphones, as announced at the Samsung event, as well as on select premium Android devices including the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. It will be available in all languages and locations where these phones are sold. Over time, Google plans to expand support for the feature to more Android smartphones.

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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

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