How to use Google's circle to search feature on Android and iPhone

The recent focus and development in the field of Artificial Intelligence has brought in a huge range of new features that we have not come across before. One such practical feature that we found is the circle-to-search feature launched by Google. Let us check how to use this feature and simplify your search experience.

When you see something new on your mobile screen, it is quite obvious to be interested in trying to find more information on the topic. The Circle to Search feature on Google is one of the best options to help you do it. The feature lets you search for whatever you see on your screen without needing to go for the text-based search option.

What is the Google Circle to Search feature on Google?

Google Circle to Search feature is an excellent and practical feature introduced by Google. It lets you search for practically anything on your phone screen with a simple gesture. The best part about this feature is that it does not need you to switch apps to search for anything.
circle to search
Instead of the traditional text-based searches, this feature lets you connect with the information you are seeking in a very seamless manner. Circle to Search feature is indeed an extension of a huge number of AI-based search enhancements which include voice queries, song recognition, and visual searches through Google Lens.

Is the Circle to Search feature available on every smartphone?

No, the Circle to Search feature is not available on every smartphone. The feature needs special software and hardware requirements to comply with. It was initially launched on Google Pixel 8 and Samsung Galaxy S24 devices.

As of today, the Circle to Search feature is available on the following devices -
  • Samsung Galaxy S24, S24 Plus, and S24 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy S23, S23 Plus, S23 Ultra, and S23 FE
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9, S9 Plus, and S9 Ultra
  • Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro and
  • Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro

The feature is also being made available on Pixel 6, 6 Pro, 6a, 7a, Pixel Fold, and Pixel Tablet.

How to use the Circle to Search feature on Android?

To use the Circle to Search feature, you will first need to enable it. The way you can do this will depend on whether you are using the navigation buttons or gestures on your phone. If you are using navigation options, long press the Home button. In case you are using gestures, long press on the navigation handle at the bottom of the screen. This will enable the circle-to-search feature on your device.

Once the feature is activated, you can use the Circle to Search feature right away. Circle any image or video that you see on your screen, and you will get the relevant search results.

Here are the detailed steps to use the Circle to Search feature on Android-
  • Step 1 - Start the Circle to Search feature. You can either long-press on the Home button or long-press on the navigation handle depending on the navigation method you are using.
  • Step 2- Tap, circle or highlight anything on the screen that you are looking to search the information for. You can select the text, image, or video to search for.
  • Step 3- If you need to, you can refine your search further by adding relevant text in the search bar
  • Step 4 - The search results should be visible at the bottom of the screen. If you want more results, you can simply swipe up on your screen.

How to use the circle to search feature on iPhone?

After providing the circle-to-search feature on select Android devices, Google has offered the feature on iOS devices. The Circle to Search feature on iPhones is made available through the Google app for iOS and also as an Apple shortcut.

Before you can move ahead to use the Circle to Search feature on iPhone, it may be noted that there are a few limitations on the iOS version. It typically depends on Google Lens for its functionality.

To begin using the Circle to search feature on an iPhone, you need to download the Google app for iPhone if you do not have it already on your device. You will also need to install the Google Lens app on your phone.

Here are the steps involved in how to use the circle to search feature on an iPhone -
  • Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone
  • Tap on the Plus icon at the top right corner.
  • Tap on Add Action
  • Search for Take Screnshot and select the option
  • Tap on the search bar at the bottom
  • Look for and tap on Search image with Lens option
  • Tap on Done

Best use case scenarios for Circle to Search feature

The Circle to Search feature is another of Google's attempts to innovate and find the best way to search for your queries without the need to leave your apps. It might find a lot or not much traction among users but we do think it is a useful feature once you get used to using it.

  • While watching YouTube videos - Imagine a situation where you are watching a YouTube video on an unfamiliar subject. If you are in doubt about something, you can simply use the circle to search feature to understand the concept better.
  • Find details of an outfit - Maybe you are reading or watching something, and suddenly an outfit of the presenter catches your attention. You can use the circle to search feature to find the details without leaving the app.
  • You are seeking extra info on something - There are times when you may be looking to get extra info on something you are reading. The circle-to-search feature comes in handy in these cases as you do not need to leave your current app.

Any issues with the Circle to search feature?

The circle-to-search feature comes with a seamless functionality as a new way to search on select devices. However, as per the blog from Google that disclosed the launch of the Google Circle to Search feature the search results will have personalised and relevant ads on the search results pages.

They can get annoying, but they can be a new revenue stream for the tech giant. As the search giant extends the feature to more smartphones, we foresee a future where Google will develop the feature as a solid foundation for a streamlined revenue model. We just hope to see an option to disable the ads just in case.

In Conclusion

The circle-to-search feature on Google is one of the best and most unique features launched in recent times. The feature opens a new way to search for both Android and iOS users. The fact that you can search for anything that catches your attention without the need to leave your browsing session should make it a truly promising option ever.

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