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The Keyword


Circle (or highlight or scribble) to Search

Picture of someone holding a Pixel and tapping their screen.

Since our earliest days, we’ve been focused on helping connect people’s curiosity to the information they’re seeking. And through our investments in AI, we’ve developed completely new ways to express what you’re looking for, in the way that’s most natural to you.

Beyond text, we’ve already made it possible to ask a question aloud with your voice, find the name of a song just by humming it or search what you see using Lens. With every technological breakthrough, we’ve gotten closer to helping you search any way, anywhere. And today, we’re sharing our latest step toward that goal: Circle to Search.

Introducing Circle to Search

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. 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.

That’s why we’re introducing Circle to Search, a new way to search anything on your Android phone without switching apps. Now, with a simple gesture, you can select what you’re curious about in whatever way comes naturally to you — like circling, highlighting, scribbling or tapping — and get more information right where you are.

Circle to Search can help you quickly identify items in a photo or video. Relevant ads will continue to appear in dedicated slots throughout the page.

For example, maybe you need help identifying a few items a creator wore in their “Outfit of the Day” video, but they didn’t tag the brands. Just long press the home button or navigation bar on your Android phone to activate Circle to Search. From there, you can select any item that you see with your preferred gesture — like circling their sunglasses — to quickly find similar, shoppable options from retailers across the web. You could scribble the bag and tap on the boots to look those up, too — all without leaving where you are. When you’re done, simply swipe away and you’re right back where you started.

Other times, you might want to ask more complex questions about what you see. Let’s say you're browsing social media and come across an image of a delicious corn dog with some unique toppings. You’ve been seeing a lot of these online and are curious to learn more.

With multisearch — the ability to search with text and images at the same time — and our latest AI-powered upgrades, you can more easily understand concepts, ideas or topics from helpful information that’s pulled together from across the web. Simply circle the corn dog and ask a question, like "Why are these so popular?" You’ll quickly learn that these sweet and savory treats are Korean corn dogs. And they’re trending because of their unique combination of flavors and textures — including meat or gooey melted cheese surrounded by a crunchy exterior — and the growing popularity of Korean cuisine. Just like that, your curiosity is satisfied (although the photos might leave you with an appetite).

Or perhaps you’re on YouTube Shorts and you notice a video covering an unfamiliar topic: thrift flipping. With Circle to Search, you can quickly scribble over the text “thrift flip” to learn that it’s the process of purchasing items from a thrift store, fixing them up and then reselling them for a profit. Now that you know, you can easily close out and resume watching the video.

Circle to Search is launching January 31 on select premium Android smartphones — the Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro and the new Samsung Galaxy S24 series — in all languages and locations where they’re available.

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