Gesture Searching Showdown: Circle to Search vs. Circle to Co-Pilot


Search is an ever-evolving landscape with search engines constantly bringing out updated algorithms and better indexes to make searching easier with new features. With the rise of AI, new and interesting ways to search have evolved, and the latest addition to search has been gesture searching.

While gestures are nothing new in the world of smartphones and touch pads, such as pinch zoom and swipes, a new gesture has entered the mix, ‘Circle To’. Chrome has been the first to release their version of this called ‘Circle to Search’ which is available on select devices such as the Google Pixel 8 and the Samsung Galaxy S24. Microsoft has also released their version in Edge with the slightly less catch name of ‘Circle to Co-Pilot’ however this is still in beta.


Circle to Search

On January 31st, Google released Circle to Search on select Android devices. This allows users to switch from any app they are currently using and circle an item on the screen to start a Google search for it.

This means that if you are watching a clip on your phone and see something you want to know more about, then a quick circle gesture can give you your answers. Google’s example is a model wearing sunglasses: one quick circle later brings up the search results with shopping ads of where to buy similar glasses.

Another example is a video with the subtitles that reads ‘Best thrift flip I’ve ever done’. The user can pause the video and highlight the words thrift flip revealing the results of what thrift flipping is and some tips for if you want to get started.

With so much content now coming in short bursts and clips such as Tikitok and YouTube Shorts and the fast-paced ever-changing terms that content creators come up with, ‘Circle to Search’ is going to make searching a breeze.


Circle to Co-Pilot

Microsoft is also set to release ‘Circle to Co-Pilot’ which is currently in beta. Having tested this, it works in a very similar way to Circle to Search in that you circle what you want to highlight. However this currently only captures a screenshot and adds it to the Co-Pilot search, so you will still need to type in a query to go with this. This does slow down the user experience somewhat however as it is only in beta we don’t know if the final functionality will be the same instant results as its Google rival.

It is also currently only available to desktops but, with a full release, we may find that it appears on the Edge app too.

Another interesting feature is likely to come from integrations. As Microsoft continues to add features then we may see this worked into its other suite of tools such as Office and Teams.

Since these new features are only just being released, we can expect a lot of development from them as they continue to evolve. What it does mean is that making sure all forms of your content are easily accessible to search engines is becoming more and more vital as AIs begin to do more and more of the heavy lifting when it comes to search. If you feel your content is lacking or want to look at hope to make sure you are staying up to date with the latest search engine updates, get in touch with us today.

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