Chrome may get its own Circle to Search tool and make your online image identification a breeze

 A finger touching the google chrome icon in the Windows 10 start menu.
A finger touching the google chrome icon in the Windows 10 start menu.

Google seems really happy with Circle to Search on its Pixel phones, and just yesterday a group of developers created a version of it for the iPhone as a shortcut. Now, it seems Chrome on desktop will be getting the feature.

Industry leaker Leopeva64 on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) posted several short clips of a potential Google Lens update for the browser that would allow manual control of the tool.

By clicking a Lens icon in the toolbar, the cursor turns into a cross-shaped reticle with a camera icon in the corner. You can then click and drag it over an item on the screen. Once complete, a window will slide in from the right and display search results relevant to your selected content – presumably.

The demo videos don’t show any search results once the window appears, as it's a work in progress. In fact, the company has been working on this feature since at least March of 2024. Leopeva64 links to previous threads showing how it has transformed over time.

Something you’ll notice from the demos is Chrome takes a notable design cue from Circle to Search on Pixel. Highlighting an object causes the surrounding area to be blurred out, only showing a clear view of what is in the box. Unlike Circle to Search, you won’t be able to draw a circle with a mouse. The videos indicate you may be forced to use a rigid rectangular shape.

Improving old feature

Chrome on desktop technically already has this ability, although it’s not as intuitive. You could, for example, drag a picture to Google Images to look up the subject in the search engine. Or you can select “Search image with Google” in a picture's context menu and have the results show up on the side. These methods are arguably the same thing, but a Circle to Search tool would be easier to use and familiar if you have a Pixel or Galaxy phone.

You won’t have to open another window to upload an image and you can choose what you want to search, rather than making adjustments afterwards.

It’s unknown when Chrome’s Circle to Search (assuming it’ll be called that) will roll out. 9To5Google states the tech giant plans to add more AI tools to their browser “this year.” In a recent interview, Chrome engineering director Adriana Porter Felt says her team is looking for ways to bring AI tech to make everyday tasks like “using Search [and] reading webpages – a little easier”. Leopeva64’s discovery could be a part of this big push.

While we have you, check out TechRadar's roundup of the best Pixel phones for 2024 if you want to upgrade.

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