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Circle To Search: How Google’s Circle To Search Feature Works

circle-to-search:-how-google’s-circle-to-search-feature-works
Circle To Search: How Google’s Circle To Search Feature Works

Let’s say you’re watching a movie trailer on YouTube and you can’t remember the name of the lead actor to save your life. With Google’sCircle to Search feature, you can simply pause the video, circle the actor, and instantly pull up their IMDb page. On select premium Android smartphones, you can now access Google Search anywhere on your phone’s interface. Here’s what you need to know about Circle to Search.

What is Circle to Search?

Circle to Search is a feature on select Android phones that Google introduced in mid-January 2024. Using Google Lens technology, the feature lets you search for information about objects, text, or images you see on your screen with a simple gesture. Instead of manually typing search queries in a search bar, you can simply draw a circle around any text, image, or video to instantly search for related information.

For instance, you might want more information on a particular element in a YouTube video, such as an actor or product. Simply circle the element with your finger, and initial results will pop up at the bottom of your screen. You can then refine results by typing more queries in the search bar or adjusting the selection area by dragging the borders.

Circle to Search complements search functions in other Google Apps, like Google Assistant, an AI-powered digital assistant app that lets you interact with your phone using voice or text commands. Circle to Search fills a void for users who prefer a visual search method rather than verbal commands.

What phones is Circle to Search available on?

Circle to Search is available on select Android phones, including specific models from Google and Samsung. The following devices support Circle to Search:

Google Pixel

  • Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro
  • Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro
  • Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
  • Google Pixel 7a
  • Google Pixel 6a
  • Google Pixel Fold
  • Google Pixel Tablet

Samsung Galaxy

  • Samsung Galaxy S24, S24 Plus, and S24 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy S23 FE
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9, S9 Plus, and S9 Ultra

How to use Circle to Search

  1. Enable Circle to Search in your settings
  2. Activate Circle to Search
  3. Select the content
  4. Refine your search

Here’s how to use Circle to Search: 

1. Enable Circle to Search in your settings

Open the settings app on your Android phone. The location of the Circle Search option may vary based on your phone model and Android version, but here’s where to look: 

  • Display. Navigate to the “Display” menu within Settings, where you may find an option for “Advanced” or “Navigation bar.”
  • System. Look for the “System” menu within Settings. Here, you might find an option for “Gestures” or “Advanced gestures.”

Once you’ve navigated to the right menu, look for an option related to Circle to Search or something similar, such as “Use Circle selection for Googlesearch.” Enable Circle to Search by turning on the toggle switch.

2. Activate Circle to Search

There are two ways to activate Circle to Search, depending on your phone’s Android version:

  • Navigation buttons. On phones with three-button navigation, long press the Home button. (Phones running older versions of Android—prior to Android 10—are more likely to have three-button navigation as the default option.)
  • Gesture navigation. On phones with gesture navigation, long press the navigation handle. (Most modern Android devices—running Android 10 and later—have gesture navigation as the default method for interacting with the system.)

3. Select the content

Once activated, use the following methods to select the content you want to search for:

  • Tap. Simply tap on the text or image to initiate the search.
  • Circle. Draw a circle around the text, image, or video you want to search.
  • Highlight. Highlight the specific text that interests you.
  • Scribble. Underline or scribble over the text you want to search.

Once you’ve selected the content, the Google search barappears at the bottom of your screen. Relevant search results will appear at the bottom of your screen. Tap on a result to see more details.

4. Refine your search

To further refine your search results, type in additional queries, phrases, or keywords in the search bar at the top of the results.

Uses for Circle to Search

From recipe discovery to shopping, Circle to Search can simplify your mobile experience. Here are some potential use cases:

Fact-checking

If you’re reading a social media post with interesting but unverified claims, you can use Circle to Search to do a quick fact-check. Simply highlight the claim or statistic, initiate a search, and explore news articles, academic sources, or reputable websites to verify (or debunk) the information.

Finding recipes

With Circle to Search, you can easily uncover recipe details. Activate the feature, circle an image of a dish, and search. This can lead you to detailed recipes and instructional videos.

Identifying TV shows and movies

Quickly identify TV shows and movies you encounter on your Android phone without switching apps. You might draw a circle around a screen grab of a clip or still. The initial results may provide information about the TV show or movie, such as the title, cast, or plot summary.

Translation

Circle to Search is linked with other Google apps, including Google Translate. Use Circle to Search to circle the text you want to translate on your screen. This could be text within an app, a website, or even a physical document displayed through your camera app. Once you circle the text, Circle to Search triggers a search and displays results with a translation option powered by Google Translate. 

Shopping suggestions

Use Circle to Search to identify that stylish jacket you saw on an influencer’s social media post or that unique lamp featured on a home décor website. Circle an image of the product that catches your eye, and Circle to Search will identify the item or provide similar shopping suggestions.

Circle to Search FAQ

How do I turn on Circle to Search?

Open the Settings on your Android phone. Navigate to either the Display or System menu, depending on your phone model and Android version. Find the Circle to Search option and enable it using the toggle switch.

Does the iPhone have a Circle to Search?

No, Apple’s iPhone does not currently have a built-in Circle to Search feature. Circle to Search is a feature introduced by Google. It is currently available only on a limited selection of Android phones—specifically Google Pixel 6 and later models, and some Samsung Galaxy models.

When did Circle to Search become available?

Circle to Search is a relatively new feature.Google introduced Circle to Search in mid-January 2024 during an event focused on its AI advancements. As of May 2024, it also has limited availability on specific Android phones. The feature was first launched on a few specific phone models: the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, and the Samsung Galaxy S24 series (all models).

In March 2024, Google announced the expansion of Circle to Search to all GooglePixel phones released in past two years.

This article originally appeared on Shopify and is available here for further discovery.
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