Google may soon upgrade Android’s Circle to Search to help you find that mystery song

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Jun 20, 2024

Google’s Circle to Search has become a beloved feature for many on Android for its intuitive way of looking up objects in images. Over the past few months, the tool has become more widespread and even inspired copycats on iOS. Now there’s new evidence suggesting Circle to Search will soon see another substantial update that’ll introduce new support for audio inputs and improve the user experience on the Pixel Tablet.

Beginning with the former, Android Authority dove into a recent Google app beta, where they discovered strings of code referencing an “Audio search button.” The publication was successful in making the button appear on the feature’s UI. It takes the form of a circle with a music note icon on it. Pressing the button didn’t do anything, though, as according to the report, it lacks all functionality. 

They did speculate on what it could do, however. Their best guess is that the audio search will be able to “identify sounds and music playing” on a smartphone. It may also utilize the audio to provide extra context for search inquiries. The button will seemingly sit to the right of the microphone icon on the Google Search bar as a separate entity. 

Because we’re still in the early stages, it’s unknown whether or not Google will ever launch the feature in some form. It is entirely possible the whole thing could get scrapped.

Tablet improvements

The second potential update would allow users to activate Circle to Search on the Pixel Tablet by just “holding down on the action key”. If you’re not familiar, the action key takes the form of a three-dot icon surrounding a magnifying glass in the persistent taskbar. Doing so causes Circle to Search to appear, as made evident by the iridescent colors onscreen. From there, you can proceed to use the tool as normal.

A function like this already exists on the Pixel Tablet, since it shows up by pressing down on the gray line in the transient taskbar. As Android Authority explains in its report, the device has two versions of the taskbar and users can choose which style they prefer. But, only the transient taskbar offers quick access to Circle to Search, so people who prefer the persistent option are out of luck. This update, if it comes to pass, could change everything, since it would allow every user to enjoy the same experience.

Unlike the audio feature from earlier, it does appear you can try out Circle to Search on a Pixel Tablet yourself, by installing the third Android 15 beta. First, users will have to enroll their device to Google’s Android Beta for Pixel program, then download the patch. Instructions on how to do this can be found on the company’s website. They also recommend backing up your data before enrolling, in order to ensure nothing important is lost.

The arrival of the third Android 15 beta comes around a month after the launch of the second one, and brings one major new feature in the form of Private space. This enables users to hide and lock sensitive apps, and is available to try if you’re in the beta program.

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