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Google to Enable Search Via Gestures on Android Phones

In a bid to improve the way people search for information, Google has unveiled its latest development, Circle to Search.

This feature allows users to search for anything on their Android phones without the need to switch between apps; with a simple gesture, they can select what they’re curious about and gather more information right where they are, Google said in a Wednesday (Jan. 17) blog post.

The Circle to Search feature offers various natural gestures, including circling, highlighting, scribbling or tapping, to enable users to select what they want to search, according to the post.

For instance, if users come across a photo or video and want to identify specific items in it, they can simply circle those items to quickly find similar options from retailers across the web, the post said. This feature is particularly useful for identifying untagged items in a creator’s video. By activating Circle to Search with a long press of the home button or navigation bar on your Android phone, users can search for items without interrupting their current screen.

Apart from identifying objects, Circle to Search also allows users to ask more complex questions about what they see, per the post. For example, if they see an image and want to know more about something in it, they can circle the object and use text to ask the question. The feature will then provide them with information pulled from across the web.

Circle to Search can also be used while browsing social media platforms or watching videos, according to the post. For example, if users come across a video that uses an unfamiliar term, they can scribble over the text to learn what it means.

The Circle to Search feature will be available starting Jan. 31 on select premium Android smartphones, including the Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro and the new Samsung Galaxy S24 series, the post said. It will be accessible in all languages and locations where these devices are available.

In another recent development around search, Google said in November that it added personalized gift recommendations to its generative artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in Search. With that capability, users can search for specific categories and then explore a wide range of subcategories tailored to their preferences.