Google Chrome could get a Circle to Search-style upgrade — here's what it might look like

A photo of the Google Chrome logo on a white background, displayed on the screen of a large MacBook Pro which is situated on a table with green foliage behind.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google’s Circle to Search tool is continuing development, and the next big upgrade may be its addition to the Windows/Mac Chrome app.

X user Leopeva64 posted screenshots and video of an in-progress update for Google Lens. These demonstrate that upon clicking the Lens icon from the shortcuts/extensions toolbar, the same blue glow that you see with Circle to Search on mobile pops up. You're then prompted to drag a box over something on-screen (blurring out the rest of the page), which it will then search, showing results in a pop-up to the right of your window. But since the feature's not finished, that pop-up is currently blank.

This is not quite as freeform as Circle to Search on mobile, which lets you draw into any shape you like, or use scribbles and lines to highlight elements. But for most purposes, a rectangular box seems just as effective.

A screenshot of Google Lens's Circle to Search-inspired upgrade being used on the desktop version of Chrome

(Image credit: Leopeva64 / X)

A shortcut for basically everyone

Only the Samsung Galaxy S24, Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a can currently use Circle to Search. But if Chrome, an incredibly popular browser, gets access, then Circle to Search is going to become a lot more mainstream. Since Google’s still being selective about which phones can use the mobile version, perhaps it’ll hold this update back to keep that exclusivity going.

An image of a Pixel being held in a person's hand with the Circle to Search feature being used on the screen to search for a mausoleum.

(Image credit: Future)

Even if Google does push the update out as soon as it's available, that could still be some time away. This feature only appears to have been in development since March of this year, and is very much a work in progress by the looks of it.

This isn't all Google has planned for Chrome either. Other recent reports claim it'll soon get Gemini AI support, while the iOS version is finally due to receive support for multiple profiles. And perhaps we'll hear even more at Google I/O 2024 next week too, as Google's leaders take to the stage to talk about what's coming up for the company.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.