Chrome has features you probably never realized it had. Did you know that you can search smarter and faster with Chrome Touch to Search on your phone? Search content within the web page.
Chrome web browser is frequently updated, and every month or so, a new version downloads and installs on your phone. Often you don’t notice the update or that anything has changed in the app, so there are probably features in the browser that you never realized it had. Google slips in new features unnoticed and you might never discover them.
Touch to Search is one of those features you may not have noticed. Although it is not hidde, it is not obvious where it is, how to enable it or what it does. Once you discover Touch to Search, I think you will use it a lot because it is a great feature.
Basically, Touch to Search enables you to touch words on a web page in Chrome and to perform a search on them. So what? It can automatically search phrases, and you don’t leave the current page or open a new tab. The search is performed in the current tab on a slide up panel. It is really clever and worth trying.
I am doing this on an Android phone, but Chrome is also on an iPhone, so try it on there. What is in one browser is often in the other.
Open Chrome settings
- Open Chrome on your phone.
- Press the three dots in the top right corner.
- Press Settings on the menu to open Chrome settings.
- Press Google services.
Google services in Chrome
Several Google services are displayed and at the bottom is the one that we are interested in, Touch to Search. Press it to open and configure this setting.
Touch to Search settings
If Touch to Search is off, there is a single switch to turn it on. Press it and an additional switch is displayed, Include surrounding text in Google searches.
What this means is that when you touch a word on the page, Chrome looks at the words before and after. So if you press ‘recipe’ it will look before and after and if it finds ‘apple pie recipe’ it will search that instead of just ‘recipe’.
Now that Touch to search is enabled, let’s see a couple of examples of it in use.
Using Chrome Touch to Search example 1
Open a web page and tap a word. The word may be automatically selected on its own or surrounding text may be selected as well. Sometimes it guesses what you want, but sometimes it doesn’t.
If the right word or phrase is not selected, text can be selected in the usual way. Long press then drag the handles at either end to highlight the text you want to search for.
At the bottom of the screen is a panel that says Google (in other words, search) for the selected text. Below search suggestion are buttons. Swipe left and right over the buttons to see more search suggestions.
Selecting more or less text on the web page changes the search suggestions at the bottom of the screen. Tap one of the search suggestion buttons or pull the panel up the screen. When you have seen all you want to see, swipe down the panel to hide it and return to browsing the web page.
I tapped ‘best hover zoom extension chrome’ and it showed a list of alternatives to this Chrome extension. You can swipe up the search results to see more, and open the search results in a new tab with the button in the top right. You can also tap more search suggestion buttons.
Using Chrome Touch to Search example 2
Here is another web page in Chrome. I tapped ‘ultra-processed’ and the search panel appeared at the bottom of the page
I then expanded the selected to include ‘is oat milk ultra-processed’. Sometimes it automatically includes extra words, but sometimes you have to manually select them. The search panel at the bottom is updated with my selection and tapped it to show the search panel.
Tap the search panel to see the results and Google displays an extract from a website that answers the query. The panel can be dismissed to return to the web page or it can be swiped up to reveal more search results, like the People also ask section.