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Circle to Search Is Google’s New Way to Get More Information Right Where You Are

Google has announced two major updates to its Search – Circle to Search and multisearch experience. The first of these new Search features will let Android users search for anything on their devices without switching apps. The feature touted as born out of recognising curiosity is called Circle to Search. 

Google has introduced the Circle to Search feature to make contextual search easier. Often, we search for something specific and end up getting distracted from what we are doing. With this new feature, Google aims to solve this problem by bringing search results to users without having them leave the app they were originally using.

Google’s new feature enables users to look for context about any image or item on their screen with a simple gesture using the search power of the Cupertino giant. The best is that once Circle to Search loads, with gestures such as circling, highlighting, scribbling, or tapping, you can get the information you are interested in and then go back to what you were doing without switching apps. The feature brings more contextual information at your fingertips.

The company stresses that the new feature doesn’t feel disruptive, stops what you’re doing, and offers whatever detail. In a limited briefing, Google showcased different use cases, some of which were relatable to our day-to-day lives. Like watching a video about fashion and circling the shoes will offer you similar shoppable options from retailers across the web. 

The Circle to Search feature will be available starting January 31, 2024, on select premium Android smartphones, including the Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro and the new Galaxy S24 series. The feature will be available in all languages and locations where they’re available.

Notably, the new Search feature will work on videos, too. This means that while you’re watching a YouTube Short, for instance, you can pause it to look for a cap that your favourite actor was wearing. Once you have the details, you can resume watching the video.

How to use the Circle to Search feature

Users can long-press the home button or navigation bar to activate Circle to Search on an Android smartphone. Once activated, users can select any item they see by circling it to find more details or similar products available for purchase from retailers across the web without leaving the current screen or app. Users can simply swipe away to return to their original screen or app when finished.

Multisearch + Gen AI

Apart from Circle to Search, Google also announced an AI-powered multisearch experience. Building on the recent string of generative AI breakthroughs, Google’s multisearch experience tries to make exploring easier. Starting today, on queries not limited to text but also clicked images or screenshots, the multi-search experience will show results with AI-powered insights. 

How does it work? Take a picture of an object you can’t recognise and add your question, “What’s this?” Google’s new feature will get an AI-powered overview with more relevant information from across the web. 

The new multisearch feature is launching this week in English in the US for all, and it doesn’t require any enrollment in Search Labs. 

How to use the new multisearch experience: Launch Lens via the Google app for Android or iOS and get started for a multisearch experience (US only). Users outside the US have to opt for Search Generative Experience (SGE) in Search Labs and can then preview this feature in the Google app. 

Is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 the best foldable phone you can buy in India right now? We discuss the company’s new clamshell-style foldable handset on the latest episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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