Google is bringing its AI-powered Circle to Search to older smartphones – here's why that matters

Circle to Search feature
(Image credit: Google/Samsung)

Google has announced that Circle to Search will roll out to its older and mid-range Pixel devices starting from March 27. Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the AI feature is coming to “more Pixel and Samsung phones, foldables and tablets.” 

Circle to Search has trickled down from the Samsung Galaxy S24 series and the Google Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel 8, to the older Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro in the March Pixel Feature Drop.

Google will now begin adding Circle to Search to the entry-level Google Pixel 7a, which is expected to be succeeded by the Google Pixel 8a, along with older models like the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro and the budget Pixel 6aGoogle Pixel Fold and Google Pixel Tablet will also receive Circle to Search “in the coming weeks”.

Several older Samsung devices should also receive Circle to Search beginning this week via an update to One UI 6.1. As reported by Android Central, this will include last year's Galaxy S23 series. Both Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5, as well as the Galaxy Tab S9 series of tablets, will receive Circle to Search too.

It’s unlikely that older phones from the Pixel 5 line or any further back will get the feature as OS support for these models has ended.

To use Circle to Search, all you need to do is press and hold the home button to activate an overlay that lets you use your finger to circle the element you want to search for. The AI-powered search should then identify what’s been circled, and provide relevant search results for that subject.

It’s good to see Google not holding its cutting-edge AI features back from older and more affordable devices, and allowing more Pixel users to get their hands on Circle to Search without forcing them to upgrade.

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Staff Writer, Mobile Computing

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.