According to users on the Pixel, subreddit their phones have started to receive the new search feature, which was previously exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy S24 series. It was due to launch on January 31 and rollout still appears to be in progress, which is why some Pixel 8 users are pointing out that they still don’t have the update yet. It appears no particular region has been left out and the feature has been spotted on both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro models.
What does it do?
Circle to Search uses AI to search specific highlighted items on the screen without switching apps by simply circling them, which then generates Google search results.
This provides a seamless approach when compared to the previous method of taking a screenshot leaving the app then searching for that image.
It can also be used to search specific text, saving you typing it into a search bar or even copying it, so you can highlight messages, and using Circle to Search you should be provided relevant search results.
How to use Circle to Search?
To use the feature hold down on the home button or navigation bar on a compatible phone to activate Circle to Search. Then draw a circle around the object you want to look up.
For example, you could circle a shirt worn by someone on social media, and a Google search results page will pop up from the bottom of the screen showing the highlighted product and other similar-looking options.
You can even use the Circle to Search on multiple objects at the same time so if you like the hat, shirt, and shoes you could circle them all and they will appear on the subsequent results page.
Circle to Search, AI and Android
At the moment it’s unclear if Circle to Search will roll out to any other devices with Google stating it’s coming to “select premium Android smartphones — the Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro and the new Samsung Galaxy S24 series” which doesn’t look promising for other Android devices.
However, there is an alternative if Circle to Search isn’t coming to your device you may have a similar function already on your smartphone.
If Google Assistant is enabled you can tap the “Search My Screen” function which opens Google Lens allowing you to highlight the specific area you want and Google Search will provide you with results on the screen without closing the app. Although it’s not quite as user-friendly or as flashy as Circle to Search it does a very similar job, allowing us non-Pixel 8 and Galaxy S24 users to do nearly the same thing, saving you shelling out for that fancy new phone, at least for now.
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James Ide is a writer for TechRadar specializing in phones and tablets, having previously worked at The Daily Mirror since 2016, covering news and reviews.
James loves messing with the latest tech, especially phones due to their incredibly rapid pace of development.
When not surrounded by various devices and/or tinkering with gadgets while putting them through their paces, James has a love of handheld consoles.
He is almost the textbook definition of a geek, who loves sci-fi, comics, games and of course, all things tech. If you think you have a story for him or just want to challenge him at Smash Bros, get in touch.