Google introduces a new search feature

Google said on Thursday that it will be releasing two new artificial intelligence technologies that will make web searches “radically more helpful.”

Soon, smartphone users using certain Android phones to access Google will be able to ask complex or nuanced inquiries about an image or text and circle or highlight anything that show on their screens to bring up further information.

Since last year, the business has been covertly testing the tools to see if generative AI—the technology behind popular chatbots like ChatGPT—can improve Search’s personalization and usability.

The Galaxy S24 smartphone series, which launches later this month, will have the features that were initially hinted at during Samsung’s Unpacked event earlier this week. Beginning on January 3, it will also be available for purchase on a select few other high-end Android smartphones, like as the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

To find out more about what they see, like a landmark in the background of someone’s social network page, Android users can circle, tap, highlight, or draw on images, videos, or text using the first function, Circle to Search.

Additionally, starting on Thursday, users will be able to ask questions via the Google app and receive answers by pointing their mobile device’s camera (or uploading a picture or screenshot). Google provided the scenario of finding a board game at a yard sale that you’ve never played before and asking the tool what the rules are.

Google has changed Search over time, adding features like voice search and the Lens tool, which makes use of a smartphone’s camera to recognize images and provide users with additional information about their surroundings.

Google’s AI play highlights a greater push across the tech industry as big tech companies, including Microsoft, Amazon, Meta and others, race to deploy similar technologies.

“We’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible,” the company said in a press release.