Google's Circle To Search makes visual searches super easy

It's hard to think of a more self-explanatory feature than Circle to Search: It does exactly what it sounds like. Just hover over something on your phone screen, tap a button, and voila! A page full of Google search results that talk about the subject you circled. Easy, right? New feature Introducing five phones to begin with – three members of Samsung's brand new Galaxy S24 series, as well as Google's Pixel 8 and 8 Pro – before arriving at other “select, premium” Android phones.

Well, maybe it is will do Need to explain a bit. If this feature sounds familiar, you're probably thinking of Google Lens. But instead of opening the Google app, you can use Circle to search anywhere on your device. Long press the home button if you're using three-button navigation — or the navigation handle if you're using gesture nav — and the app or screen you're currently using will appear on top of the screen. You can circle, highlight, or tap an object, including text and images.

I tried it on the Galaxy S24 during some brief demo time, and it worked well at isolating the subject of my search and returning useful results. Is this a radical new way to search for things on the Internet? No, but it seems legitimately easy. Sometimes, the administrative overhead of taking screenshots, closing and opening apps, etc Another one Choosing an app and screenshot is overwhelming. Circle for Search cuts down on the grunt work, and it's one of those features that your phone should be able to do all the time.

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After using the circle to search in an image, a thumbnail will appear in the search bar with the command “Add to your search” with multiple searches.
Photo by Alison Johnson/The Verge

Search Help Circle is an update to Google's multi-search feature. Multisearch is an existing lens feature that lets you change visual searches — take a picture of a pair of white shoes, search them through the lens, then add the word “red” to see different results with red shoes. Now, you can add complex queries to refine your visual search. You take a picture of a plant, add it to your search, and ask, “How often should I water it?” You can ask that. This is Google's own example, but it's more apt because it killed more than one plant with too much water.

The way Google explains it, multisearch is the tool you want when you want to know why Something, not only what Something. You picture one of the Stanley Cups that people carry around now and say, “Why are these so popular?” You can ask that. Related: I want to know why those cups are so popular. I think I know what I'll be using multi search for.

Unlike Circle to Search, many of the improved searches are available in the Google app for any Android device starting today — but only in the US for now.

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