How to Use Google's Circle to Search Feature on Android

Discover the convenience of Circle to Search on Pixel 8 and Galaxy S24. Harness AI for quick, in-app searches. Uncover tips for broader access on any Android.

By Abhishek Chandel
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How to Use Google's Circle to Search Feature on Android

How to Use Google's Circle to Search Feature on Android

Google recently introduced an innovative new visual search feature called Circle to Search. Available initially only on the Galaxy S24 series and now on Pixel 8, and 8 Pro, Circle to Search aims to make AI-assisted searching easier and more accessible than ever. In this post, I'll cover everything you need to know to get started using Circle to Search on your Android device.

How to Use Google's Circle to Search Feature on Android

To use Circle to Search, on the Pixel phone, you first need to make sure you have the latest version of the Google Search app which contains support for the feature. Look for a version number with "CTS" in it. You also need to be running the January 2024 Android security update.

In the case of the Galaxy S24 series, you will get this out of the box.

Using Circle to Search

You can activate Circle to Search by long pressing on the home or navigation button.

Once enabled, Circle to Search lets you draw a circle or scribble on any object within an app. This searches the circled object and returns useful information.

The key benefit is getting quick contextual information without having to leave the app you're in. It's perfect for learning more about things you encounter while browsing social feeds, videos, and photos.

Current Capabilities and Limitations

The current version of Circle to Search relies on Google Lens visual search capabilities. While useful, the AI-powered conversational features teased in announcements are not fully live yet in the initial release.

So while Circle to Search is handy for product identification, recipes, and surface-level searches, the depth of information it can provide is somewhat limited compared to what's promised.

Use Google's Circle to Search Feature on any Android

Since Circle to Search is restricted to the Galaxy S24 series and Pixel 8  series for now, owners of other phones unfortunately can't use the slick integrated UI.

However, you can get fairly similar functionality through a few different workarounds:

1. Take screenshots and upload them to Google Lens manually. 

2. Use Google Gemini AI to search for anything on your screen & talk with AI about that.

We already discussed the process of using Google Gemini AI in this article, How to Access Google Gemini AI on Android and iOS.

Wrap Up

Circle to Search offers an early glimpse of where Google is taking integrated, AI-enhanced searching on Android. While not fully realized yet, the initial release is promising and convenient for discovering more about objects and places on the fly. As Google expands the conversational search features, Circle to Search could become an indispensable tool for learning effortlessly as you navigate apps and the web. For now, it provides a basic but handy way to tap into Google's visual search smarts anytime. Have you tried Circle to Search on your Pixel 8/Pro or Galaxy S24? What uses have you found for it so far? Let me know in the comments!

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