TikTok is becoming the new search engine for Gen Z

Looking for a place to eat or a way to do something? TikTok is the preferred platform for young people to find answers. Google has noticed.

Ja’Kobi Moore applied this year to a private school in New Orleans. She learned that she required at least one recommendation letter from a teacher when she did so. She hadn’t asked for one before so she sought out help.

She typed “Teacher recommendation” into TikTok’s search box.

Ms. Moore (15) scrolled TikTok until she found two videos. One explained how to ask teachers for recommendation letters and the second showed a template. Both videos were created by teachers and were much easier to understand than any YouTube video or Google search result. Ms. Moore plans to speak to her teachers later this month.

TikTok is well-known for its viral dancing videos , and pop songs. Generation Z uses the video app as a search engine.

To find the right information, more and more young people are turning to TikTok’s powerful algorithm. This algorithm personalizes videos based on how they interact with content. This tailoring is accompanied by the feeling that real people are synthesizing information and delivering it to users.

TikTok allows you to see the feelings of the individual about the restaurant they visited. Nailah Roberts is 25, and uses the app to search for restaurants in Los Angeles. She said that a long written review about a restaurant doesn’t capture the atmosphere, food, and drinks as well as a short clip.

TikTok’s rise to prominence as a discovery tool is part a larger transformation in digital search. Google is still the most popular search engine in the world, but people are now turning to Amazon to search products, Instagram for trend updates, and Snapchat’s SnapMaps to locate local businesses. The digital world is growing and the number of options for finding information is increasing.

Google noticed TikTok’s infiltration into its domain. Although the Silicon Valley company denied that TikTok was being used as a replacement search engine by young people, at least one Google executive commented publicly on the search capabilities of the rival video app.

According to our research, almost 40% of young people don’t use Google Maps or Search when looking for a restaurant for lunch. They use TikTok and Instagram.” Prabhakar Raghavan (a senior vice president at Google), stated during a July technology conference.

In recent years, Google has integrated images and videos into its search engine. Some of the search results for Google have included TikTok videos since 2019. YouTube Shorts was launched by Google in 2020. It shares vertical videos that are less than one minute long and Google began including it in search results.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance a Chinese internet company. They declined to comment on the search function or products currently in development. It stated that it is always looking for new ways to enrich TikTok’s experience and add value to the community.

TikTok searches are often more interactive than Google queries. Gen Z-ers use TikTok videos as a way to find what they want, rather than slogging through endless text. They then verify the authenticity of the suggestion by looking at the comments that were posted in response.

This search method is evident in the way young people use TikTok to not only find products and businesses but also ask questions and get answers. TikTok provides what many feel is more relevant information, with videos that are often shorter than 60 seconds.

Alexandria Kinsey (24), a Arlington, Va. communications and social media coordinator, uses TikTok to search for many things, including recipes, movies to see, and happy hour options. It’s also a great tool for more unusual questions like interviewing Andrew Garfield or researching conspiracy theories.

TikTok’s results are “not as biased” than Google’s, she stated, adding that she sometimes wants “a different opinion” to what Google-optimized websites and ads say.

Ms. Kinsey also said that she loved the speed at which TikTok videos provided information. She said that she does sometimes fact-check what she finds on TikTok using Google, but that she rarely sees something that needs that much thought.

TikTok’s rise as a search engine could mean more people stumble across misinformation and disinformation. This information could then be amplified or spread further, Francesca Tripodi, a professor of information and library science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. It has had difficulty moderating misleading content regarding electionswar in Ukraine, and abortion.

TikTok’s algorithm tends not to keep users on the app, which makes it more difficult for them to find additional sources to fact check searches.

She said that “you aren’t clicking to anything that would take you out of the app.” It’s even more difficult to verify that the information you receive is accurate.

TikTok is now a place for information. The app is currently testing a feature that detects keywords in comments and links to search result for them. It is also testing a feed that contains local content in Southeast Asia. This allows people to find events and businesses near them.

The expansion of search and location features will likely cement TikTok, already the most downloaded app worldwide for young people aged 18-24 according to Sensor Tower.

TikTok is “becoming a one-stop shopping for content in an a way it wasn’t in the early days,” stated Lee Rainie who directs internet research at Pew Research Center.

Jayla Johnson (22 years old) is proof of this. Newtown resident Jayla Johnson, 22, estimates that she watches TikTok videos two hours per day on her phone. She said she started using the app to search for information because it was easier than Google and Instagram.

She said, “They know what you want to see.” “It takes less effort for me to go out of my way to find what I want.”

Ms. Johnson is a digital marketer and said that TikTok was a great tool for her and her parents when they were looking for things to do and places to visit. She said that her parents are often unable to navigate through the pages of Google search results. However, she can scroll through a handful of videos.

She said, “God bless,” and she agreed. “You could have done that in seco

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