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TikTok, a platform primarily known for its viral video content, appears to be taking a stride into the search world by experimenting with a feature that incorporates Google Search results directly within its app. This move, along with other recent tests like incorporating Wikipedia entries, suggests TikTok’s aspiration to extend its offerings beyond just entertainment.

The feature displays a compact box on TikTok’s search page, prompting users to try out the Google Search for similar queries. However, the integration hasn’t been rolled out universally, as many users, including some from TechCrunch, reported not seeing this option in their app.

TikTok Google search results

Screenshot from the TikTok app, when searching for ‘Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg’, 3rd, Oct. 2023.

A TikTok representative confirmed this new direction to Business Insider, stating that the integration with Google Search is among several third-party features the platform is trialing in select regions.

One of the intriguing aspects of this development is its timing. A statement from Prabhakar Raghavan, Google’s Senior Vice President, last year, highlighted a shift in the way the younger demographic interacts with the internet. He noted that a substantial segment, approximately 40%, of young users are not heading to platforms like Google Search or Maps when in need of information. Instead, they lean towards social media apps like TikTok and Instagram. Although the exact numbers can’t be confirmed, it does indicate a shift in online behavior.

This change underscores the argument that Google’s search business faces stiff competition, a narrative the company has been keen to push, especially in the light of its ongoing antitrust trial with the Justice Department, which revolves around its search practices.

Our very own Senior TikTok Expert, Kevin Dosanjh shared his insights into the remarkable collaboration.

Kevin Dosanjh TikTok Ads Senior ExpertTikTok and Google’s partnership seamlessly bridges the divide between conventional search methods and the distinct online behaviors of Generations Y and Z, offering a notably visually enriched search experience on TikTok. I see a great potential in the platforms leveraging each others strenghts, e.g. TikTok opening up advertisers to bid on keywords, with greater impact. Currently, on TikTok, we can only setup negative keywords. Overall, it’s plausible to anticipate enhanced search targeting capabilities, as the platforms are likely to harness each other’s respective strengths.”

Wrapping up TikTok’s experiment with Google Search

If TikTok’s experiments prove successful, the platform could position itself as a more comprehensive digital hub, catering to users’ needs beyond just entertainment. Such a move could further shift the dynamics of the digital search industry and user behavior in the years to come. 

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