Yesterday, Samsung officially unpacked the S24 series, and with the new phones came several AI features they are calling “Galaxy AI”. One of the coolest new features they showed off during the keynote is called “Circle to Search” and it does exactly what the name implies. Simply circle anything on your phone and get Google search results about whatever you circled. Although this new feature made its debut at the Unpacked event and will be available on the S24s series, it looks like this is actually an Android feature and isn’t exclusive to Samsung which means there is good news for all you Pixel fans out there.
You might be thinking that Circle to Search sounds a lot like features within Google Lens but there is one key difference. Instead of needing to take a screenshot or picture and then open it with Google Lens, Circle to Search can be used anywhere on your phone.
Let’s say you’re scrolling through Instagram and see a stunning photo of a landscape. Just long-press the home button/gesture line to initiate Circle to Search, then just circle or scribble over what you want to search. You will then get a page full of information about the landscape you just discovered. And yes, Google Lens already lets you search with images in a similar fashion but Circle to Search takes it a step further. It’s seamless and much more integrated, working anywhere on your phone, regardless of what app you’re using.
Circle to Search isn’t just for visual exploration – it works with text too! Highlight a phrase you want to learn more about or circle an unfamiliar word, and instantly access relevant definitions and explanations. No more switching between apps or losing your train of thought.
You can also take your search a step further with Google’s upgraded multisearch which now gives you the ability to ask nuanced questions. For example, you can circle an image of a popular food dish and ask, “Why are these so popular?” and Google will give you a full page of AI-powered insights. The upgraded multisearch is available in the Google app starting today for any Android or iOS device, but only in the US for now.
As for the availability of Circle to Search, it will be on the Samsung Galaxy S24 series, Google Pixel 8, and 8 Pro on January 31st. During the keynote, Samsung made it sound like Circle to Search was exclusive to the S24 series so I was excited to see the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro officially listed in Google’s blog post. Also, Google refers to these as “select premium Android smartphones” so I’m assuming Circle to Seach requires some horsepower under the hood to run smoothly but this language makes me wonder if it will expand to other premium phones in the future. For now, though, these five phones are the only ones supported. Although the launch was a bit clumsy, it’s still exciting to see Google partner with Samsung to launch new features that aren’t exclusive to either platform.