TikTok tests integration of Google search in in-app search results

This move by TikTok is part of its aim to become a comprehensive online platform, expanding beyond viral dance moves.

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TikTok has begun testing a feature integrating Google Search into its in-app search results. During the test, users are presented with a small box on TikTok’s search page, encouraging them to search for the same terms on Google. While the feature is being tested and unavailable to all users, a TikTok spokesperson confirmed that it is part of the app’s ongoing experimentation with third-party integrations in select markets.

This move aligns with TikTok’s goal to expand its services and become more than just a platform for viral dance moves. The company is also reportedly testing the inclusion of Wikipedia entries directly into its search results. With these developments, TikTok aims to become a comprehensive one-stop shop for various online activities.

The integration of Google Search into TikTok is interesting due to the shifting behaviour of young internet users. Google’s Prabhakar Raghavan, responsible for the company’s Knowledge and Information division, observed last year that young users increasingly turn to TikTok and Instagram for internet searches instead of traditional search engines like Google. This departure from previous expectations challenges the assumption that new internet users would naturally gravitate towards platforms like Google for their search queries.

Why does it matter?

This demonstrates the app’s ambition to become a multi-purpose platform for online activities. The shift in search behaviour among young users, who increasingly use TikTok and Instagram for internet searches, challenges the expectation that Google would be their go-to search engine. This development also plays a role in Google’s antitrust trial, where the company argues that its search business faces healthy competition.