Google's Circle to Search feature will soon handle language translation

Maps is also getting some AI tools to help with recommendations.


Google just announced that it’s expanding its recently-launched Circle to Search tool to include language translation, as part of an update to various core services. Circle to Search, as the name suggests, already lets some Android users research stuff by drawing a circle around an object.

The forthcoming language translation component won’t even require a drawn circle. Google says people will just have to long press the home button or the navigation bar and look for the translate icon. It’ll do the rest. The company showed the tech quickly translating an entire menu with one long press. Google Translate can already do this, though in a slightly different way, but this update means users won’t have to pop out of one app and into another just to check on something.

The translation tool begins rolling out in the “coming weeks”, though only to Android devices that can run Circle to Search. This list currently includes Pixel 7 devices, Pixel 8 devices and the Samsung Galaxy S24 series, though Google says it's coming to more phones and tablets this week, including some foldables.

Google Maps is also getting a refresh, with an emphasis on AI. When you pull up a place on Maps, like a restaurant, artificial intelligence will display a summary that describes unique points of interest and “what people love” about the business. The AI will also analyze photos of food and identify what the dish is called, in addition to the cost and whether it's vegetarian or vegan. The company hopes this will make it easier to make reservations and book trips.

A smartphone showing a new trending list.
A smartphone showing a new trending list. (Google)

On the non-AI side of things, Maps is getting an updated lists feature in select cities throughout the US and Canada. This will aggregate lists of must-visit destinations pulled from members of the community and local publishers. There will be tools to customize these lists as you see fit.

These will be joined by lists created by Google and its algorithm, including a weekly trending list to discover the “latest hot spots” and something called Gems that chronicles under-the-radar spots. All of these Maps updates are coming to both Android and iOS devices later this month.