When Google first announced its new Circle to Search feature, they did so alongside the launch of the Galaxy S24. At that time, they said for Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro owners to expect access to it as well, only they’d have to wait until January 31 when the Galaxy S24 hit store shelves. And then they announced it again as a part of January’s surprise Pixel Feature Drop, so we wondered if it might hit phones sooner.
That didn’t happen, of course, as we’ve been checking for it every day. As it turns out, January 31 was the launch day for Circle to Search after all. If you own a Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro, it’s time to go looking for it and see if this feature really is as cool as we think it is.
A number of reddit users are all claiming to have access to Circle to Search as of this morning. From what I can tell, access is popping up in various countries, with the US included. I’m still not seeing it, even as a Google App beta tester, but that’s often the case with Google’s slow and painful feature rollouts that will never not frustrate me.
What is Circle to Search? It’s the new search tool Google recently (re)introduced that allows you to long-press on your phone’s navigation bar (or home button) to then search for items on your screen. You can fire this up from anywhere too, so that could be while scrolling Instagram, on a website like this one, or when watching YouTube. The action takes a quick snap of your screen and then lets you circle items to trigger a search. You can also scribble across text to search for it or just tap on stuff.
The best part may be that once you are done, you just swipe down the pop-up UI that’s across whatever app you are in to go back to what you were doing. It’s all very handy, assuming the Google Search results return useful items. Here’s to hoping this isn’t just a glorified shopping tool.
You’ll likely need an update to the Google App (Play Link) and I did see a fresh update as recently as yesterday. Once updated, you can see if the feature is live on your account by long-pressing on your navigation bar. If live, a magical shimmer will briefly take over your screen before letting you circle, scribble, and tap. You can see how it should look in the images above.
Everyone seeing it so far? Useful or nah?
NOTE: Edited opening to mention remove mention of a potential earlier arrival. Google appears to have mentioned January 31 again in their Keyword announcement.