TikTok users may soon have the ability to access Google search results directly from the app. This new feature was discovered by app researcher Radu Oncescu, who shared screenshots on Twitter. The screenshots show a link to search Google for the same query on the TikTok search results page. However, a pop-up message in another screenshot clarifies that TikTok does not endorse or take responsibility for the Google search results.
While Google declined to comment on this development, TikTok confirmed to Insider that it is indeed testing this feature in some markets. This move by TikTok is seen as an expansion of its search capabilities within the app. Just recently, TikTok quietly added Wikipedia snippets that directly link to the site for certain searches. These snippets provide information about locations, companies, and individuals. A TikTok spokesperson mentioned that this feature has been live for a few months.
The addition of Google search results linked in the TikTok app is significant as it marks another step towards integrating search functionality into the platform. It also highlights TikTok’s efforts to provide users with more comprehensive information and resources. By including direct links to Google search results, TikTok aims to enhance user experience and enable users to explore more content related to their queries.
However, this potential partnership between Google and TikTok comes amid an ongoing antitrust case against Google. The US Department of Justice has accused Google of unlawfully maintaining its dominance in search by entering expensive deals with companies like Apple to ensure Google remains the default search engine on their products. As the case continues, a partnership between Google and TikTok could raise further questions regarding Google’s market power and competitive behavior.
At the same time, TikTok is also facing increased scrutiny from regulators. The European Commission recently named TikTok as one of the “gatekeepers” that must comply with new regulations under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA aims to address anti-competitive practices by major tech companies and imposes certain rules that listed firms must follow. For example, messaging apps must be interoperable with other platforms, and users should have the ability to install third-party apps and app stores.
These developments indicate that both Google and TikTok are navigating complex regulatory landscapes while trying to expand their services. For Google, the antitrust case puts pressure on the company’s market practices, potentially impacting its partnerships and collaborations. On the other hand, TikTok’s inclusion in the DMA’s list of gatekeepers means additional obligations and oversight from regulators, which could impact its operations and growth.
In conclusion, the possible integration of Google search results within the TikTok app signals a strategic move by the short-form video platform to improve its search capabilities. This feature, combined with its earlier addition of Wikipedia snippets, aims to enhance user experience and provide a more comprehensive range of information. However, the timing of this potential partnership with Google is crucial, given the ongoing antitrust case against Google, and TikTok’s inclusion in the DMA’s gatekeepers list. Both companies will need to navigate these regulatory challenges while continuing to innovate and provide value to their users.