Searching for things on your Pixel 8 should be getting a whole lot easier.
Google is rolling out its recently-announced Circle to Search function to its latest smartphones, including the Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro. The new feature uses generative AI to quickly help you figure out what’s on your smartphone screen. Instead of bouncing back and forth between tabs and apps, the Circle to Search will directly identify whatever you highlight.
We first saw Google debut this feature during Samsung’s Unpacked event last month with its latest Galaxy S24 models. We knew Circle to Search wasn’t going to be exclusive to Samsung’s smartphones, but it seems like Google was waiting for the Samsung devices’ release to start rolling the feature out to its own smartphones. So far, Google has limited the Circle to Search feature to Android smartphones, which could be the move to convert iPhone users.
Circle, Scribble, or Highlight
We got a brief preview of how Circle to Search works during the Samsung event, but Google has detailed all the ways you can use this feature in a recent blog post. It may be called Circle to Search, but you can even scribble over or highlight whatever you’re trying to search for. You simply long-press the home button or the navigation bar, then draw on whatever it is you’re interested in to start a search.
For the obvious cases, you can quickly identify something like an article of clothing that you come across in a video you’re watching. That means no more wasted time sleuthing the internet just to ID something your favorite vlogger is wearing. In another example, Google says you can highlight a restaurant name in your group chat to quickly get a glance at the menu, location, photos of dishes, and reviews — all without leaving the messaging app.
In some other straightforward examples, you can circle a word or phrase to get the definition or scribble over a building to identify it and add its location to a travel itinerary. If you want more complex answers, Google gives you the option of adding a string of text for a deeper dive, like understanding why something is suddenly going viral.
A Better Way to Search
Some Pixel users have already been using Circle to Search, even though Google says it just started rolling the feature out to its Pixel 8 smartphones and Samsung’s Galaxy S24 models. Google hasn’t indicated if it will bring the feature to older Pixel models, though.