Circle to Search on Android could get a barcode scanner — here's what to expect

An image showing the Samsung Galaxy S24 with the Circle to Search feature being used on screen
(Image credit: Future)

Circle to Search on Android devices is one of the best features Google has rolled out recently. If a batch of new code is to be believed, Google will soon add new features to Ciircle to Search, including a “search this barcode” option. 

If you are unaware, Circle to Search is an Android gesture that allows users to search on a smartphone’s screen simply by circling the item of interest. It launched in January on the Samsung Galaxy S24 phones. Since then, Google has been slowly expanding Circle to Search to more devices and is reportedly working on adding the search tool to Google Chrome

As spotted by Android Police, the ability for Circle to Search to read barcodes is coming soon.

Currently, using Circle to Search on a barcode directs users toward a search result with other similar barcodes. This is instead of being redirected to the content of the barcode.

The updated feature would allow Circle to Search to read barcodes on websites or from pictures on the phone. We imagine Google's implementation of this feature should be easy, so we expect it to roll out soon. 

The only thing holding Circle to Search back from being one of the best Android features is availability. Currently, the gesture feature is only available on the Samsung Galaxy S24 and Samsung phones running One UI 6.1, as well as the Google Pixel 8 series. Those two phone lines do have much of the Android market, but there are plenty of non-Google and Samsung phones running Android that could use the feature. 

One of our favorite ways to use Circle to Search is in the camera app. While it works well with images already on your phone, Google Lens is an option that requires a separate app that you may not already be using. 

Nicely, using Circle to Search through the camera app means that you don’t need to clog up your gallery with unnecessary images. Give it a try. 

Beyond just search, the gesture also recently got instant translation support, which enables users to translate on-screen languages quickly.  Google is making several announcements regarding AI and the company’s Gemini AI assistant. We could see more Circle to Search improvements at I/O 2024

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.