The short video platform TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, is testing a new function that would allow users to search Google without leaving the app, according to Business Insider.
The Google integration is intended to facilitate further discovery via the TikTok platform by seamlessly providing on-demand context to videos – without interrupting users’ scrolling flow.
TikTok users participating in the trial are now seeing a prompt appear within their search results on the app encouraging them to “expand their search” using Google. TikTok is reportedly also testing the integration of Wikipedia widgets in search results.
A TikTok spokesperson confirmed that the company is experimenting with third-party integrations within the TikTok app, including a test with Google, according to Business Insider. Google has not yet commented on any formal partnership with TikTok or ByteDance.
“In our studies, something like almost 40 percent of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram,” admits Google’s Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan, who says Google regards the short video platform as a potential threat to their business.
Similarly, a recent report from the UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom revealed that TikTok has become the favourite social media site for teens in the UK to access news, with 28% of 12 to 15-year-olds using the video-sharing app for news, giving it slightly more reach than YouTube and Instagram (25% each).
By entering into a new agreement with TikTok, Google may be hoping to offset the threat presented by TikTok’s dominance and tap into TikTok’s mammoth pool of daily users to fuel its own growth.