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How Google’s two game-changing features’ll enhance search


By Juliet Umeh


Technology giant Google has introduced two new features, Circle to Search and an AI-powered multisearch experience to enhance searching on its platform.

Vice President, Search, Elizabeth Reid, who revealed this said Circle to Search is a new way to search anything on your Android phone screen without switching apps.

She said: “With a simple gesture, you can select images, text or videos in whatever way comes naturally to you like circling, highlighting, scribbling or tapping and find the information you need right where you are.

“When something grabs your interest (like these adorable dog goggles!), it can be disruptive to stop what you’re doing and use another app or browser to start searching for information. But now, whether you’re texting friends, browsing social media or watching a video, you can search what’s on your screen right when your curiosity strikes.

“Circle to Search is launching globally on select premium Android smartphones on January 31, starting with the Pixel 8, the Pixel 8 Pro and the new Galaxy S24 Series.”

Point your camera, ask a question, and get help from AI

Reid said: “In 2022, we pioneered multisearch in Lens as a new way to search multimodally, with both images and text. Since it launched, multisearch has been best for refining visual queries like searching for a photo of red sneakers with Lens and adding the word “blue” to find them in your preferred color.

“But now, thanks to our recent breakthroughs in generative AI, multisearch makes exploring the world easier than ever before.

Starting today, when you point your camera (or upload a photo or screenshot) and ask a question using the Google app, the new multisearch experience will show results with AI-powered insights that go beyond just visual matches.

“This gives you the ability to ask more complex or nuanced questions about what you see, and quickly find and understand key information.

For example, imagine you’re at a yard sale and you come across a strange-looking board game. There’s no box or instructions, so immediately some questions spring to mind: What is this game and how is it played? This is where the new multisearch experience can help.

“Just take a picture of the game, add your question (“How do you play this?”), and you’ll get an AI-powered overview that brings together the most relevant information from across the web. This way, you can quickly find out what the game is called and how to win. And with the AI-powered overview, it’s easy to dig deeper with supporting links and get all the details.

“AI-powered overviews on multisearch results are launching this week in English in the U.S. for everyone no enrollment in Search Labs required. To get started, just look for the Lens camera icon in the Google app for Android or iOS.

If you’re outside the U.S. and opted into SGE, you can preview this new experience in the Google app. You’ll also be able to access AI-powered overviews on multisearch results within Circle to Search,” Reid explained.

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