Google Announces Intuitive ‘Circle to Search’ Feature at Samsung Unpacked

A visual of an AI summary of a text message.

Announced at Samsung Unpacked on Wednesday, it will now be possible search almost anything without having to switch apps with as little as a mere gesture.

Circle to Search lets users select a detail from a photo or video, for instance, with a preferred gesture. This can include circling the item or highlighting it. From there, the new Circle to Search tool can bring up similar items to purchase, or users can attach queries for more information using the multisearch feature.

“Our phones are a window to the world’s information — whether it’s to explore a passion, solve a problem, buy the perfect gift, learn a new skill or simply find a reason to smile,” Google says in a release. “And when you’re truly immersed in a moment of discovery or exploration, it can feel disruptive to stop what you’re doing and switch to another app to learn more.”

Part of an image is circled on a phone.

Circle to Search will arrive on January 31, but only on select premium Android devices. This includes the Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro, and the new Galaxy S24 Series.

Additionally, users can point their cameras at something to open the multisearch feature and receive AI-powered answers, extending the tool into real-world applications. And it launches this week throughout the U.S., regardless of whether a person is enrolled in Search Labs, Google’s early-stage testing feature. It even works when using the Lens tool in the Google app on iOS. That said, it’s only available in English at the time of launch.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra first impressions
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra includes the new Circle to Search feature. | Photo by Ted Kritsonis

For the Samsung Galaxy S24 series specifically, the lineup gets supports for Google’s AI model Gemini, including Gemini Nano for on-device tasks. For those hoping to test out a bit more power, though, Google announced Samsung will be one of the first partners to test Gemini Ultra, with support coming for developers and enterprise customers later this year.

“With Gemini Pro, our best model for scaling across a wide range of tasks, you can interact with familiar Samsung apps in more helpful ways than ever before. On the new Galaxy S24 series, Samsung’s Notes, Voice Recorder and Keyboard apps will use Gemini Pro to deliver better summarization features,” Google says. “For example, you can record a lecture using Voice Recorder and quickly get a summary of the most important parts of the lesson. And with Imagen 2, Google’s advanced text-to-image diffusion technology, you will be able to access helpful photo editing capabilities using Generative Edit within the Galaxy S24 Gallery app.”

Image credits: Google