Google has been working on this feature since the launch of Android. As Google is a search and ad company, they want users to search from anywhere. Users can now use Google Search without switching apps using a new tool called “Circle to Search.” This feature will be available in all languages and locations where Google Services are offered. For instance, if you come across an unfamiliar slang phrase while watching a video, you can highlight it to learn about it or find products by finding similar, shoppable options from retailers across the web.

You may have used Google Lens, where you have to take a screenshot or use the camera on Google Lens to search for a product, extract text, translate, or search for anything. Google’s Circle to Search feature is a more convenient alternative to switching between multiple apps, like screenshot items, and then using Google Lens. It saves much time and is more engaging to initiate a search than to rely solely on the circling gesture.

Integration across apps has the potential to minimize context switching and disruption while enhancing the overall Android user experience. Multisearch was first introduced to Google Lens in 2022, and since then, it has combined image and text searches. The new developments in AI have greatly expanded what multisearch can do. It allows users to easily search for text or products while reading something or watching a video. You can circle an object (or squiggle over it) to focus the search.

What is a Circle Search?

This feature allows you to draw a circle around information on the device. This includes support for highlighting text and scratching items instead of oval shapes. With the circling or highlighting option for triggering a search, other gestures can be used for a seamless search experience. It enables users to ask more complex or nuanced questions about what they see and quickly find and understand relevant information.

The scribble gesture applies to both images and words. However, it may vary based on the query and the user’s participation in Google Labs products. Like an existing Lens feature, the feature seamlessly integrates into the user experience, enabling users to refine Visual Search with complex questions. This allows quick access to search without interrupting the current task, particularly when curiosity leads someone to look something up while already engaged in another activity on their phone.

It can be helpful to give many benefits to users not only for searching for anything but also for things like identifying clothing and purchasing those items themselves when the creator did not tag the brands. Google’s AI-powered Multisearch feature powers this feature, first announced in 2022. Under the hood, multisearch supports multimodal search queries for text and images but also changes the search parameters within the Google app. Enabling it is also easy; all you need to do is long-press the Home button or navigation bar to activate this feature.

class="wp-block-heading">Multisearch and Gen AI

Besides the Circle to Search, Google is expanding its AI-powered multisearch experience for Generative AI to make exploration more accessible. A follow-up for the Circle to Search feature to have an overview of the query with more relevant information from across the web. These new capabilities also include a new MultiSearch Experience and the Search Generative Experience to preview the features in Google Apps, including Lens and Search.

Google has upgraded this from Lens to the Circle to Search across Mobile, with the AI following up on the question. The feature aims to make the user experience more natural and intuitive; it also helps users by summarising the most relevant information found across the web. This makes it easier for users to learn new things they encounter, providing relevant information for us. The AI-powered overview of multisearch launches this week in the U.S. in English.

Circle Search is coming to more Android.

After announcing the Circle to Search feature during the Unpacked 2024 event, Google confirmed that Circle to Search will be coming to the Pixel 8 Series on January 31. It is also expected to go to other selected premium Android devices later this year. Aside from being quicker and more convenient, which shows the AI elements in Google Circle Search, AI is underlying under the hood. It is no surprise that this feature ended up being a highlight.

In addition, Google is also preparing to roll out to iOS users in the coming months. This includes the option to have a generative AI on Google Search to answer more relevant queries within the SGE framework. This feature allows users to automatically search for things like images or text using simple gestures, like drawing across apps, including the web, social media, gallery apps, and more.

It is also noted that Google Search and Shopping ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the results page. With Circle to Search, you can select images, text, or videos, and then, by circling, highlighting, scribbling, or tapping, you can search for the object within that image, text, or video.

How to enable Circle Search?

This feature is not enabled by default; users must manually enable the Circle to Search feature in the device’s settings.

How to Use the Circle to Search Capability on Any Android Phone
  • Open the Device Settings
  • From there, head over to the navigation bar.
  • After that, use the toggle to enable Circle Search.

Once enabled, you can begin using Circle to Search by tapping the navigation bar or home button to circle the items or text of interest further. Results for the query appear in the app you are currently using, so users do not need to interrupt their activity. With a simple swipe, the results go away, allowing you to continue your previous task. Let us see how you can use the Circle Search feature.

How to use Circle Search?

After enabling Circle Search, you can use this feature; you need an active internet connection. You can engage through gestures like the circle or scribble across the item.

How to Use the Circle to Search Capability on Any Android Phone
  • On your screen, from any screen, you can activate the search for an image or video.
  • Long-press the Navigation or Home button to activate Circle Search.
  • Then, you can circle, highlight, or even tap on the subject to search for an image or text, extract text, translate, or do a simple Google search.
  • Once they get the information for the items they searched for, users can swipe away to return to the original screen or app when finished.

So, besides circling and scribbling, you can tap or highlight to select, which is particularly helpful for words and OCR (Optical Character and Recognition) copying or translation.

After getting the results, you can also follow up with a request, asking, “What is this?” Furthermore, Google AI will then provide a detailed overview by gathering information from the web. However, the app will not work on apps that disable users from taking screenshots, including banking apps or private content.


For instance, the upgraded multisearch allows users to understand the reason behind things, not just identify them. The new Generational AI Search feature reimagines its core search engine business amid rising competition and shifting consumer behavior. Google has not disclosed any further details; it is unclear whether the company plans to roll out this feature to iOS devices.

This feature helps me quickly identify items in photos or videos, and the ads will continue to appear in dedicated slots throughout the page. The primary use case for Circle to Search is for shopping-related tasks, followed by selecting the text to extract the text likely.