TikTok’s Latest Test Feature Improves Search

KYIV, UKRAINE - MARCH 10, 2020: Sad blonde girl pointing on smartphone with TikTok app near friend

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The popular video-sharing platform is now beta-testing a new feature that will improve the app’s search capabilities. The new function highlights keywords in comments and provides a link to relevant search results. TikTok already has a search tool that lets users find new material and trends, but this addition would make the search even more powerful. TikTok isn’t just seeking to take on other social media platforms; the test functionality demonstrates that the company is also targeting Google’s core offerings.

It seems like this feature is being tested with a limited audience right now. We asked TikTok for comment on the test, but a representative stated the firm has nothing to add at this time.

Talk of TikTok serving as a search engine for millennials has been circulating for some time, and this latest addition would make it a formidable competitor to Google.

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Since Google has admitted that TikTok is a threat to its Search business, the timing of the test is ideal. Google’s Knowledge & Information organization’s senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan recently observed that younger consumers are increasingly flocking to apps like Instagram and TikTok rather than Google Search or Maps. He explained that younger consumers are interested in innovative and interactive methods of content discovery.

Raghavan claims that about 40% of young people, rather than using Google Maps or Search, turn to social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram while seeking a new restaurant. He mentioned how Google intends to improve Google Search to accommodate the growing demand for visual content among younger people, suggesting that the competition from TikTok has prompted the company to reevaluate its approach.

TikTok on the Rise

TikTok’s popularity as a video search engine stems from the app’s capacity to provide high-quality clips that are both timely and relevant to a user’s current query. If for some reason, you can’t seem to discover the ideal banana bread recipe via Google, you could have more luck on TikTok. If you’re looking for a recipe on Google, you’ll probably receive a bunch of links to blog articles that are many pages long before you ever get to the recipe itself. TikTok, on the other hand, offers concise and succinct video recipes.

All of this demonstrates that TikTok is making inroads into Google’s core products and has ambitions to improve in this regard.

To successfully market itself as a search engine, TikTok must first verify that the content it indexes is of high quality and not merely widely shared. A recipe’s popularity online is no guarantee that it’s the best. Creators on TikTok may wind up doing the same thing with intentionally viral films as they have on Google by optimizing their pages with SEO for maximum exposure, leading in some cases to mediocre outcomes. As a result of the new keyword test tool, content creators may begin using trendy terms in their videos to increase their views and popularity. That raises the question of whether or not TikTok’s visual search with algorithmic ranking will genuinely provide superior results to Google.

Raising Concerns

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Some young people may use TikTok to look up health-related material, raising concerns about the platform’s reliability and safety. Similar to how some individuals may trust the search results that are optimized to be presented on the first page of Google Search, young users may be eager to trust medical information on TikTok merely because it is relevant to them and has many views.

It’s also important to remember that TikTok’s version of a search engine would operate differently than Google’s. Google, for one, crawls the web and then directs users to other sites, but TikTok is experimenting with an internal search model that keeps users within the app.

Already a formidable competitor in the social media space, TikTok appears to be preparing to take on Google Search by strengthening its own search features.

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