Galaxy S24 and Pixel 8 owners can soon search for anything by drawing a circle around it

The feature will be available starting on January 31.


On Wednesday, Google introduced Circle to Search, a gesture-based way to quickly find info without leaving your app. The feature will be exclusive (at least at first) to the new Galaxy S24 and the Pixel 8 / Pixel 8 Pro starting at the end of January.

Google pitches Circle to Search as “a new way to search anything on your Android phone without switching apps.” You can activate the feature by long-pressing the home button or navigation bar. Then, circle something on your screen with your finger and see the results pop up at the bottom. To return to what you were doing, “simply swipe away and you’re right back where you started,” Google Search VP Cathy Edwards wrote in a company blog post.

Demo in three phone screens (lined up horizontally) of Google's Circle to Search feature. On the left, a social post with a circled corndog. Center: the corn dog highlighted with a search result pop-up at the bottom. Right: full search results for the corndog query.

Despite its name, Circle to Search isn’t limited to circling. “With a simple gesture, you can select images, text or videos in whatever way comes naturally to you — like circling, highlighting, scribbling or tapping,” Google Search VP Elizabeth Reid wrote.

Circle to Search also works alongside multisearch, Google’s text / image search feature launched in the Google app in 2022. The company suggests circling to select a corn dog in a viral social post and asking, “Why are these so popular?” (“You’ll quickly learn that these sweet and savory treats are Korean corn dogs,” Google explains.) The feature works with anything on your screen, including products, other items or text in videos.

A phone screen showing search results (in the Google mobile app) for a visual search of a mysterious board game. The results reveal the game is pucket.

In more hardware-agnostic news, the company is injecting generative AI into Lens multisearch in the Google app. The company says this allows you to ask “more complex or nuanced questions.” It provided an example of seeing a mysterious and unlabeled board game at a yard sale, snapping a pic and asking Google Lens, “How do you play this?”

Google says the feature will provide a generative AI-fueled overview using the web’s most relevant info. The results will include supporting links to let you scour the web for more details.

AI-powered multisearch overviews roll out this week in the Google app on Android and iOS in the US (English only). The feature is open to everyone who fits that criteria — no beta opt-in necessary. Meanwhile, Circle to Search will be available on January 31 for “select premium Android smartphones,” starting with the Galaxy S24 series, Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.