TikTok tests Google Search integration to boost in-app results

TikTok tests Google Search integration to boost in-app results
TikTok app logo on Android



(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • TikTok has been spotted, including Google Search links in some queries.
  • The company confirmed that it is testing third-party integrations within the app, with tests being carried out in several different markets.
  • This year, TikTok started including Wikipedia links in some search results through a partnership, while Google has also included TikTok videos in its Search results.

As search trends continue shifting towards social media apps, TikTok has begun testing a new Google Search integration in the app as it partners with other third-party apps to enhance the in-app experience.

The Google Search integration was spotted by app researcher Radu Oncescu, who shared a screenshot on X of a Google Search link included in TikTok’s in-app search results. The link appears to match the text in the search box, which likely sends the user directly to the Google Search results via an in-app browser.

#TikTokSearch now displaying external links to Google Search. @MattNavarra pic.twitter.com/cAxNufLA3pSeptember 19, 2023

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A TikTok spokesperson told Business Insider that the company was testing third-party integrations and that it’s being tested globally across different markets.

While I have not been able to replicate this, I have noticed Wikipedia links appearing in certain results, a feature that apparently rolled out sometime this year and via a partnership the company recently confirmed with The Verge. The app has also tapped into IMDb so users can tag movies or TV shows referenced in their videos.

It’s an interesting move that may likely boost TikTok’s search experience. Moreover, assuming there is some sort of partnership between the two companies, it may also benefit Google, which has had to contend with the fact that TikTok is being widely used as the default search method among certain users, particularly Gen Z. This trend could, in the long run, negatively affect Google Search’s ad revenue, which rose slightly in the second quarter amid a decrease in ad spending.

“We keep learning, over and over again, that new internet users don’t have the expectations and the mindset that we have become accustomed to,” Google’s senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan noted during a conference last year. He added that younger users are making queries in an entirely different way.

And while Google still has a sizeable chunk of the search market, Android Central’s Shruti Shekar highlighted how Google has a lot to lose if it doesn’t shift its focus. Since then, Google Search results have begun displaying TikTok videos and YouTube Shorts more prominently.

Meanwhile, Google is currently on trial for allegedly retaining its search dominance through anti-competitive means. It’s unclear how this new move from TikTok plays into the accusations against the company, but Business Insider noted that a Google spokesperson declined to comment on whether or not there was a financial agreement between it and TikTok to include Google Search integration.

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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he’s not working, he’s most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

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