Android’s Circle To Search Has A Big Catch

Circle to search is one of the most useful recent additions to Android phones. With it, you can circle a designated area of your screen to search one specific thing that you can’t type down in your browser bar. It’s a feature that can greatly improve your screen searching experience and, frankly, we wonder how it wasn’t a thing before. If you were hoping to use it with other search engines, though, it looks like this option is closed off.




Thanks to an APK teardown, Android Authority found that Google’s Circle to Search feature will be blocked if you happen to have a browser that’s not Google set as your default browser. The phone will tell you that Circle to Search is “unavailable due to your choice of default online search engine,” adding that, in order to use it, you must set Google as your phone’s search engine. This should help to dispel any possible doubts that you can use it with other search engines.

This might be annoying, but it’s not surprising. This is a Google Search feature, after all, rather than something in the core Android operating system. Google tends to keep its best features to itself, and even if they were to support third-party search engines, it could be tricky to get working on Bing or DuckDuckGo unless the company was willing to collaborate with them. With Search still being Google’s main product by all means, this is not likely to happen.


More than anything, this serves as yet another reminder that, unless you’re willing to fully immerse yourself on Google’s ecosystem of apps and services, using Android can be a fustrating experience. Most of Android’s useful features rely on Google’s services, and even stuff such as push notifications actually piggyback off Google’s servers in order to work properly. These cool features are neat to have, but they’re not even the most painful losses if you’re willing to commit to a de-Googled life on your Android smartphone.

If you want to check out Circle to Search, just be mindful that you’ll have to use Google.

Source: Android Authority

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