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What you need to know about Google’s new AI-Powered search features

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Google recently announced two new AI-powered search features for Android smartphones. This feature allow users to get information by simply circling, highlighting or tapping on items on their screens. The additions leverage generative AI to make search more intuitive and personalized.

The first, called Circle to Search, lets users initiate a Google search by circling or scribbling on any image, text or video on their phone screens. For example, circling an item in a social media photo or video will bring up relevant information and shopping results. Tapping a restaurant name in a messaging app conversation will pull up details about that eatery.

Google says Circle to Search makes it easy to search without switching between apps. The gesture-based searches provide traditional Google results or AI-generated responses, depending on user settings.

The second feature allows pointing the smartphone camera at a real-world item, like a product in a store, and asking a question about it. Google provides an “AI-powered overview” with helpful details gathered from across the web.

Read also: Meta bets on Artificial General Intelligence, plans to open source technology

Both features leverage advancements in generative AI to deliver more contextual answers. They are part of Google’s push to keep its core search product relevant amid the rise of AI chatbots like ChatGPT.

Circle to Search rolls out January 31 on new Samsung Galaxy S24 smartphones and Google Pixel 8 models. More premium Android devices will gain support over time. The point-and-ask camera feature is initially only available in English in the U.S.

The launch coincides with Google’s expanded AI initiatives across its products and services. Rival tech giants like Microsoft and Meta are also racing to deploy generative AI abilities, setting off an “AI arms race” across the industry.

Google aims to maintain search dominance by evolving how users can query its system in daily life. The company believes the new Android search options will help people get information more seamlessly.

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When I'm not reading about tech, I'm writing about it, or thinking about the next weird food combinations to try. I do all these with my headphones plugged in, and a sticky note on my computer with the words: "The galaxy needs saving, Star Lord."
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