Developed by Google, Circle to Search is the most exciting and useful feature included in the Galaxy AI package on the Galaxy S24 series. Cirle to Search is also available on Pixel 8 phones. But that’s about it. While Google says it ultimately wants to make Circle to Search available on as many devices as possible — maybe even the iPhone — we’ll be waiting a while for that.
According to Samsung, Circle to Search on other Galaxy devices might not happen until the fall.
What is Circle to Search?
Google announced Circle to Search and other AI innovations on the same day Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S24 series. In a way, it’s the logical evolution of Google Lens.
But rather than searching for an image on Google to find similar pictures or information about the image itself, you perform a circle gesture on the phone’s screen after holding down the bottom navigation bar. You can also highlight text similarly.
Google will then use AI to see what’s inside that circle to gather more information about it. The feature works everywhere on the screen, no matter what app is in focus. That makes it incredibly valuable, as it might change how you perform online searches.
Think about how many times you went to the Google app or internet browser to search for something you saw or read about in an app. The Galaxy S24 and Pixel 8 phones will make that process much easier.
I’ve briefly tested it while using a Galaxy S24 device in a store, and it does work. And no, you don’t need the stylus to do it. You can circle an image with your fingertip to search.
At the end of its Unpacked event, where it unveiled the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy AI, Samsung said it was “excited to announce that we plan to roll out Galaxy AI experiences that we introduced today to select Galaxy devices in the first half of this year.”
Samsung did not specify which devices will get Galaxy AI features, but it put up the following image while providing the comment above. You’ll recognize the Galaxy Z Fold 5, Flip 5, Galaxy Tab S9, and the Galaxy S/Ultra. Samsung didn’t single out Circle to Search or other Galaxy AI features when making the promise above.
Two weeks after the January 17th press conference, the Galaxy S24 launched in stores. On January 31st, Samsung announced the Galaxy S24 release in various markets. That’s where it disclosed more details about the Circle to Search rollout plans. Here’s what Samsung said in the footnotes of a press release for the Netherlands, according to a machine translation:
Circle to Search will be available on the Google Pixel 8 series and Samsung Galaxy S24 series from January 2024. Circle to Search may become available on Android devices from other brands from 5 October 2024, but there are no active developments underway for this.
That’s interesting wording, as Samsung chose to highlight other brands in the announcement. As if Circle to Search is something it developed.
Again, Google made Circle to Search, and it has nothing to do with Galaxy S24 hardware. It’s up to Google to decide when and where to make it available. I think Google has every reason to put Circle to Search on as many devices as possible, considering the pressure on Google Search from generative AI products.
Also, the quote above implies that older Galaxy devices that will get Galaxy AI features in the first half of the year won’t get Circle to Search until much later.
Then again, we’re looking at a press release that concerns the Netherlands. And possibly the EU. Samsung may always bring Circle to Search to older Galaxy products sooner than fall 2024.
I’ll also add that Samsung will unveil the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Flip 6 this summer. And I expect these two devices to rock Galaxy AI features, Circle to Search included.