When the Galaxy S24 launched, it brought what one ZDNET editor called the most “you’re watching the Disney Channel” feature: Circle to Search.
The feature is similar to Google Lens, but instead of taking a screenshot or photo in another app to learn more, it lets users search Google for an image or text by simply highlighting, circling, or scribbling (or drawing Mickey Mouse ears if you’re so inclined. ).
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Google’s AI will then analyze what you circled. If it is an image, it will search for it and display similar results If it is text, the search will analyze the text and either return search results or return an answer.
While the feature was initially exclusive to Samsung’s new flagship phones, Google users can now get in on the fun. Circle to Search has been available on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro since yesterday.
Perhaps the feature’s biggest advantage to using Google Lens is that it pops up in an overlay that lets you swipe it away when you’re done — without having to navigate from your original app. Also, sometimes Google Lens focuses on the wrong thing in a screenshot or photo, meaning you have to crop really hard to find what you want.
To activate Circle to Search on your Pixel phone, just long press the home button or navigation bar. The app you’re using will stop and an overlay will pop up. From there, circle the image or text you want to search for, and Google will work its magic. When the results are displayed, you can add context or ask a specific question.
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For example, if you’re searching to find a museum that an influencer is standing in front of, you might add “How much are the tickets?” Or, if your search turns up a specific plant, you can add “Is this plant poisonous to dogs?”
Since this feature is powered by the new Tensor chip, this means that not only Pixel 7 and earlier users will be out of luck, but also Pixel Fold users.