TikTok makes searching easier than ever before.
TikTok’s search widget is now available for iPhone users and gives you a shortcut to the search function. So instead of opening the app and Than by clicking the search button, when you tap on the widget, you will be taken to TikTok’s search screen automatically. It saves you a maximum of 5 seconds, but suggests that the platform double its status as a search engine. Members of Gen Z told Mashable that they use TikTok to find recipes, travel recommendations, and workouts.
For Gen Z, TikTok is more than entertainment. It’s a search engine.
TikTok alluded to its desire to be recognized as a search engine with an ad that ran in the UK earlier this year with the slogan “Find it with TikTok”. And now, with its silent rollout, TikTok is in direct competition with Google’s own search widget.
TikTok’s emphasis on search comes after Google’s Prabhakar Raghavan, a senior vice president in charge of Google Search, shared that a study conducted by the company last summer(opens in a new tab) found that 40% of 18 to 24 year olds in the US use TikTok or Instagram to search for lunch spots instead of Google Search.
TikTok is also a place where people search for news. A survey conducted last summer by Ofcom found that TikTok was the fastest growing source of news among UK adults. But research from News Guard late last year found that TikTok’s search suggests misinformation nearly 20 percent of the time. To be taken seriously as a search engine, TikTok needs to address its rampant disinformation problem.