The platform is currently testing a new feature that will improve the popular short-form video app’s search functions. The new feature highlights keywords in comments and links to search results for the term. TikTok’s search function currently allows users to discover new content, but the new feature would be a game changer. This feature test shows that TikTok is interested in competing with not only the social media competitors but also Google’s core products.
It does appear that the feature is currently available to a small group of users who are part of a limited test. TikTok is currently secretive regarding the details of this new feature, but there are rumours that TikTok is on a path of acting as a search engine for Gen Z, and the new feature would position the app as a competitor to Google.
This test came out, as google itself has made a statement that TikTok is cutting into Google’s search engine market share. Google spokesperson noted that younger users are often using apps like Instagram and TikTok instead of Google Search. He outlined that younger users desire to discover content in a more immersive way.
For example, Google stated that nearly 40% of young people go to TikTok or Instagram when looking for a place, instead of Google Maps or Search. Google has noted that they will develop Google Search to meet younger users' demand for visual content. This statement clearly indicates the strength of platforms like TikTok and Instagram, which is forcing Google to rethink its strategy.
TikTok has successfully functioned as a search engine due to its ability to quickly surface relevant and short videos based on what you are looking at at a particular moment.
This is a clear representation that TikTok is already successfully taking a piece of Google’s market share pie, with future plans of being even better in the search engine sector.