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March 2, 2024

Google Launches Revolutionary ‘Circle to Search’ AI Feature for Android Phones

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Jan 18, 2024

Google made a major announcement today regarding new AI capabilities for Android phones. The company unveiled an innovative feature called “Circle to Search” which allows users to search for information related to objects or scenes simply by circling them with their finger.

Circle to Search Leverages Advanced AI Models

According to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, Circle to Search represents an important advancement in bringing more intuitive AI experiences to mobile devices. It works by leveraging generative adversarial networks (GANs) and other cutting-edge AI techniques to understand the context of what a user circles and return relevant information.

“This new capability is made possible by advancements in AI over the past few years. By combining computer vision, natural language processing and generative models, we can understand both the visual and semantic context of a search area to provide users with incredibly useful information instantly,” said Pichai.

Initial Launch on Samsung Galaxy S24 and Pixel 8 Phones

Circle to Search will first launch on Samsung’s newly announced Galaxy S24 lineup of phones, as well as Google’s upcoming Pixel 8 devices.

Phone Model Launch Date
Galaxy S24 Feb 2024
Pixel 8 Oct 2024

For Samsung, this represents an expansion of an existing partnership with Google focused on AI innovation. The two tech giants have been collaborating closely on AI projects in recent years.

“We are proud to work with Google to bring their latest advancements in AI to the Galaxy series first. Circle to Search will give our customers an entirely new way to interact with their device and access useful information,” said TM Roh, President and Head of Mobile eXperience at Samsung Electronics.

How Circle to Search Works

Using Circle to Search is extremely straightforward. Users simply need to circle an object, part of an image, or any area of interest using their finger. The phone then quickly analyzes the circled region and displays relevant information using Google Search.

For example, circling an appliance could show specs and reviews. Circling part of a poster may display details about the movie, cast, or release date. The AI understands both visual and text elements within the circled area to deduce the context and return insightful information instantaneously.

This effectively turns the entire visible world into a search engine, accessible right from a mobile device just by gesturing.

AI Capabilities Expanding to More Phones

Although Circle to Search is launching first on the S24 and Pixel 8, Google confirmed the feature will come to more Android phones over time. This likely includes both flagship devices from other manufacturers, as well as some mid-range and budget phones with capable AI hardware.

Bringing these types of experiences to more affordable phones aligns with Google’s strategic push towards AI for everyone. At the company’s recent I/O conference, CEO Pichai asserted that all people should have access to helpful, life-improving AI technologies regardless of socioeconomic status.

What This Means for the Future of Search

With Circle to Search, Google is reinventing mobile search for the AI age. No longer limited to typing queries, users can now search the real world around them effortlessly.

This has profound implications for the future. Over time, AI algorithms will continue advancing to the point where no manual search input is needed at all. Phones may be able to automatically surface relevant information about people, objects, and environments without any gesturing required.

Additionally, the multimodal nature of Circle to Search combining images, text, and contextual understanding heralds a shift towards more versatile semantic search. As this technology improves, users will be able to query information in remarkably intuitive ways.

Privacy and Security Concerns

Of course, any expansion of AI capabilities raises potential privacy issues given the enormous amounts of user data involved. Google asserts that all data processing for Circle to Search happens securely on a user’s device. No imagery or contextual data is ever sent to Google servers. This aligns with Google’sPrivacy Sandbox initiative to develop privacy-preserving advertising solutions.

However, some security experts warn there may still be risks. AI models can memorize sensitive information used in training. And phones could be targeted to extract valuable data from onboard neural networks. Google will need to provide oversight and governance to identify problems early as Circle to Search rolls out more broadly.

What Happens Next

The launch of Circle to Search on the Galaxy S24 and Pixel 8 kicks off the next phase of Google’s ambition to make AI universally helpful. And given the breakneck pace of progress in AI recently, we likely have only begun to glimpse the potential of semantic search.

It remains to be seen how quickly this and related technologies will arrive on iOS devices given Apple’s more closed ecosystem. But Google’s push to enhance real-world search with AI across the Android ecosystem ensures that the most promising capabilities will now spread to users faster than ever before.

This story will continue to develop rapidly in coming months as Circle to Search rolls out. The impacts on areas like e-commerce, medicine, transportation, and more could be profound as AI eliminates traditional search pain points. One thing is certain – the way we access information from our surroundings is about to change dramatically. Buckle up for the ride!

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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