TikTok makes searching easier than ever before.
TikTok’s search widget is now available for iPhone users, giving you a shortcut to its search. So, instead of opening the app and then clicking the search button, when you tap the widget you’re automatically brought to TikTok’s search screen. It saves you 5 seconds max but suggests that the platform is doubling down on its status as a search engine. Members of Gen Z told Mashable they use TikTok to find recipes, travel recommendations, and workouts.
TikTok hinted at its desire to be recognized as a search engine with an ad ran in the UK earlier this year that featured the slogan, “Search it with TikTok.” And now with its quiet rollout, TikTok is directly competing 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 fasted growing news source among UK adults. But research conducted by News Guard late last year found that TikTok’s search suggests misinformation almost 20 percent of the time. To be taken seriously as a search engine TikTok needs to address its rampant misinformation problem.