Google’s ‘Circle to Search’ and More are Coming to Pixel 8 and 8 Pro

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Circle to Search, one of the major AI-powered features that was heavily emphasized during last week’s Samsung’s Unpacked event for the Galaxy S24 Ultra, is rolling out on Pixel 8 and 8 Pro along with several other AI-focused updates.

The day after Samsung’s event, Google published a blog detailing Circle to Search, how it works, and what devices it would be available on. While Samsung’s event focused heavily on its availability on the Galaxy S24, the final line of Google’s blog revealed it would also be coming to the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro by January 31, the official launch date of the S24 series.

Even if the feature wouldn’t always only be on Samsung phones — being Google-powered, it was expected to come to other Android-based devices eventually — Samsung could have hung its hat on the “first on Galaxy S24.” That was perhaps the idea anyway, but Google will be bringing it to Pixel 8 and 8 Pro devices at the same time: January 31.

Google’s Pixel January Feature drop includes Circle to Search as well as three other features: the ability to take body temperature readings, Magic Compose, and it brings Photomoji to the Pixel 3a+.

After the update, the Pixel 8 Pro’s thermometer app will allow users to take their temperature (or another person’s) with a “simple forehead scan.” Those results can be saved to a Fitbit profile. This update is only coming to the 8 Pro in the United States.

Magic Compose is an AI-powered tool that helps users draft messages in different styles. Google says it can help make a user sound more professional, concise, or even — for fun — Shakespearean.

Photomoji allows users to pick any photo in their phone’s library and create a “photomoji” reaction out of it to use in conversations and is being added to the Pixel 3a+.

These new features join two others that were announced earlier this month: Quick Share and Seamless Audio Switching. With a simple tap of the new Quick Share icon, Pixel users can see a list of devices in their proximity you can share content with. Seamless Audio Switching allows the Pixel Buds Pro to automatically connect when a user moves between paired Pixel devices.

With this update, the Pixel 8 Pro has basically reached feature parity with the new Galaxy S24 Ultra before the latter even comes onto the market. Even the live translation feature that Samsung showed off last week has a Google equivalent. The Pixel 8 Pro can read aloud and translate content browsed in Chrome and Live Translate is a feature that has been available since the Pixel 6 and is able to translate live text conversations and videos. It can also translate signs and menus through a Pixel’s camera.

The Galaxy does still have one thing the Pixel doesn’t: integration with Instagram.

Update 1/25: While Google’s feature update documentation listed January 25 as the start of feature rollout, the company clarified that specifically “Circle to Search” would come to Pixel 8 and 8 Pro on January 31. The “January feature drop updates begin rolling out today and will continue to roll out over the next few weeks,” a Google representative elaborates.