Google announced two updates today that utilize new AI capabilities to make searching more natural and intuitive.
The first new feature, Circle to Search, allows Android users to search anything on their screen by simply circling or highlighting it.
The second update enhances Google’s multisearch feature, which was first introduced in 2022. When users take a photo or screenshot and ask a question, they will get an “AI-powered overview” summarizing the most relevant information found across the web.
Here’s more about each of the features announced today.
A New Gesture-Based Search Method: Circle to Search
Google has developed a new feature for Android called Circle to Search that will change how people interact with content on their phones. With Circle to Search, users can circle, highlight, or tap text, images, or videos within apps to instantly search for related information without switching between applications.
This convenient in-app searching capability is launching globally on January 31st on Google’s newest Pixel 8 phones, the Pixel 8 Pro, and Samsung’s recently released Galaxy S24 series devices.
By allowing quick access to searches without interrupting the current task, Circle to Search aims to provide a more streamlined user experience, particularly when curiosity leads someone to look something up while already engaged in another activity on their phone.
The integration across apps has the potential to minimize context switching and disruption while enhancing the overall Android user experience.
Multisearch: A Step Forward with AI Integration
Multisearch was introduced to Google Lens in 2022, allowing users to combine image and text searches. However, new developments in AI have greatly expanded what multisearch can do. Now, you can point your camera at something, ask questions, and get AI-generated answers beyond visually identifying the object.
For example, if you find an open board game at a yard sale, you may wonder what it is and how it’s played. With multisearch, you can take a picture of it, ask your question, and get an AI-compiled summary from different internet sources.
This makes it much easier to learn about new things you encounter. The AI does the work of researching and piecing together relevant information for you.
The AI-powered overviews for multisearch launch this week in the U.S. in English.
Google’s new “Circle to Search” and enhanced “Multisearch” represent progress in making search more intuitive and natural.
As these roll out, Android users, especially those with new Pixel and Galaxy devices, can expect a more fluid, interactive search experience. However, it’s important to think critically about the information these tools provide.
As AI evolves, the capabilities and impact of our digital tools will too.
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