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Google working to prevent accidental Circle to Search activations

1 month ago 51

circle to search

The latest Made by Google Podcast episode talks to the development team behind Circle to Search (CtS).

The team “spent a ton of time thinking about what is the fastest way to access, because we knew that could make or break the product.” It was important to them that you could access it anywhere across the OS. They of course landed on long-pressing the gesture bar (referred to as the “home handled” today) or home button to activate Circle to Search.

With 3-button navigation, CtS replaces Assistant activation, with users having to use the app shortcut, power button, or hotword. Some that use gesture navigation — with its wide but short touch target, complain about accidentally triggering Circle to Search. Fortunately, Google is aware of this:

We still have further to go, and we’re working a lot on making sure it’s triggered when you want, [and] it’s not triggered when you don’t want.

Also of note is explicit acknowledgment that “Circle to Search actually works with Lens.”

A lot of the technology is in fact Lens, the visual searching capabilities, OCR on the screen. The key differences are rarely that it’s universally available.”

The animation that sweeps across your screen is called the “shimmer,” while development on CtS started around January of 2023. Google acknowledges that tapping to select (like in Lens) is faster than circling, but that the team found the circle to be “delightful.” Circle to Search also accepts highlighting (or crossing out text) and squiggling over. The team is finding that copying text is an increasingly popular use case.

And so when you’re doing a circle, we have very, very finely tuned the region selection over lots and lots of testing so that it’s extremely accurate.

Besides launching in-line translation, Google has a lot more planned for Circle to Search: “we have lots of ideas about what to do.” One thing that was suggested is a “merging of both the Search result page with the Lens result page, and that’s going to be rolling out over many, many months.”

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