TikTok Testing New Google Search Feature

Chinese social media giant TikTok is working with Alphabet Inc.’s Google LLC to explore a new partnership that integrates Google Search into the short-form video app’s search results.

The feature, first posted by app researcher Radu Oncescu, showed that certain TikTok users now have a new prompt in their search results in the platform, which include a link to look up the same terms or inquiry on Google.

The company has also posted a disclaimer which read, “TikTok does not endorse or take responsibility for search results from Google.”

The US search giant has yet to comment on the matter. A spokesperson for TikTok has confirmed to a New York-based publisher that the company is conducting a trial with third-party integrations in the app, including the Google Search feature.

TikTok Leaning to Search, Google’s Dominance Scrutinized

Including Google search results in the short-form video platform represents TikTok’s further tapping into search.

Last week, it was reported that the app is testing directly incorporating content from Wikipedia into its search results. TikTok has apparently added snippets that directly lead users to the online encyclopedia’s website.

While the snippets were only available to particular searches, they appeared available on specific locations, companies, and individuals. TikTok spokesperson Zachary Kizer confirmed that the feature has been live for some months.

Furthermore, a Google executive overseeing the company’s Knowledge & Information division found in 2022 that young users recently switched from the search giant to TikTok and Instagram for online inquiries.

TikTok’s test of integrating Google search also aids the company’s legal argument that its search business does not lack strong competition.

Google is currently engaged in an antitrust case with the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

The company was accused of unlawfully maintaining its search dominance by establishing expensive deals with firms such as Apple Inc. that have Google as the default search engine on its devices. The legal dispute is expected to last for months.

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