February 23, 2024

Google “Circle-to-Search” – New search function introduced

The world of AI data analysis is getting a new product: As Heise reports, Google introduced a new search function called Circle-to-Search at a press conference. This allows the user to search for information on the smartphone screen with a simple finger movement. It uses Google Lens, the company's image recognition service.

With Circle to Search, users can circle a specific area on their screen and then automatically receive relevant search results from Google. This feature is not limited to photos only, it can also be used in other apps like TikTok. For example, if you see a prominent building and circle it in a vacation photo, Google will search for the exact home location.

To activate Circle to Search, you must hold down the Home button or launch it via navigation. Once activated, the app can be placed above all others and should become an integral part of the smartphone experience.

The term “Circle-to-Search” refers not only to the circular finger motion used to select part of an image; It is also intended to create an immersive experience without having to interrupt what you are currently doing. This means you don't have to switch between apps to use the search function.

Starting January 31, Circle-to-Search will initially only be available on the new Pixel 8 and Galaxy S24 devices. The function should then work worldwide and in all languages.

In addition to introducing Circle-to-Search, Google also announced an extension to Google Lens: the Multi-Search function. This allows users to ask questions about specific sections of images. For example, to ask about directions that are not obvious to you, or to find out where you can get a waffle with toppings.

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These new features are based on artificial intelligence (AI). According to Google, this means that the answers are improved compared to previous answers from Google Lens. Instead of just matching visual matches, Lens can now understand context too.