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If you can't beat em', join em'

TikTok and Google test to join forces to become Gen Z's one-stop search engine.


Olivia Earnshaw and Stephen Maycock

25 Oct 2023

Earlier this year, we covered TikTok’s rise to become the most popular search engine for youth audiences; stealing Google’s users with vertical video and UGC-dominated results pages.

Admitting they can’t beat them, it looks like Google has found a way to join them instead.

According to Business Insider, TikTok and Google are exploring a partnership, which would insert Google search prompts, and potentially even results into TikTok’s native results page.

Users are already witnessing the new prompt; App researcher, Radu Oncescu, shows how the widget appears in-app and seems to redirect users to the Google app for similar queries.

Though Google declined to comment on the partnership, TikTok has confirmed the company is experimenting with third-party integrations within the app, including a test with Google. TikTok has shared that the custom feature aims to provide more context and facilitate further discovery via TikTok, cementing the app as the go-to place for search amongst younger audiences. Meanwhile, for Google, the benefit is regaining relevance to a departing demographic.

Developments are in early stages and it’s too soon to tell what will come of the collaboration, but we’ll be adding search terms to our branded content to cover the bases and keeping an eye on the Google recommended widget in the results page.

If you’d like to learn more about optimising your content for the next wave of Social Search, check out the original article ‘Is TikTok the New Google’ and follow the three steps to SEO.