Now, TikTok is emerging as the search engine of choice.
At a conference last week in Colorado, Google vice president Prabhakar Raghavan revealed that “nearly 40% of young users don’t go to Google Maps or Google Search when looking for a place to have lunch. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”
And here’s why it happened. For example, when you search on Google for a “cool bar in ABC City” you get 125 million results.
On TikTok, the same search results in quick, fun clips of bars in ABC. What more do you want: 125 million results or a compelling video that’s only 12 seconds long?
Google is currently facing a lot of antitrust scrutiny. The 40% figure that the Google Vice President mentioned above would fit very well with Google’s other safeguards (to prove they’re not monopolistic), such as “55% of people start product searches on Amazon, not Google”.
Nearly 40% of young users do not visit Google Maps or Google Search when searching
Raghavan also has YouTube Short videos – Google’s TikTok clone with 1.5 billion viewers – that he can include in his search engine. In addition, Google is working to index the search clips on Instagram and TikTok. This gives us hope that the search experience with Google will be more useful in the future.
One thing to note is that TikTok’s parent company is Chinese. Recently obtained audio recordings confirm leadership in China has access to user data in the US, while users are spending more time on TikTok than Instagram and Facebook combined, or an average of 91 minutes per day for children in the US. Clearly, US officials have reason to be concerned about a Chinese company holding an algorithm that takes up a lot of people’s time.
Besides, Instagram is not sitting still. Over the weekend, Meta CEO, Mr. Zuckerberg also announced the launch of a separate map of Meta, integrated into Instagram. Users can search for places of entertainment near the standing position. They can filter out restaurants, coffee shops or beauty salons.
Now that TikTok has emerged as the search engine of choice, Instagram has also stepped in, Google’s unique position in the search market is starting to show signs of instability and things could get interesting.