What you need to know
- TikTok and Instagram threaten to scrap Google as the search engine of choice among Gen Z users.
- Nearly 40% of this demographic searches via TikTok and Instagram rather than Google searches.
- The search giant is changing its core services in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Google runs the risk of losing Gen Z to close rivals TikTok and Instagram in the future, as younger users turn to social apps to perform online searches. This is why the search giant is now shaking things up to keep up with the competition.
Prabhakar Raghavan, Senior Vice President of Google, revealed during the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference that nearly 40% of Gen Z prefer to use social apps like TikTok and Instagram for online inquiries rather than Google search and Maps (via Take Crunch (Opens in a new tab)). These apps have become the go-to platforms for many younger users when looking for places to eat, for example, according to Raghavan.
His observation was based on an internal Google search. Raghavan, who oversees the knowledge and information group, admitted that TikTok’s small video format is dramatically changing the internet search landscape.
“We keep learning, time and time again, that new internet users do not have the expectations and mindset we are used to,” Raghavan said at the event. He added that younger users are directing inquiries in a completely different way.
Raghavan said Google is boosting search with new possibilities to get small eyeballs back again. For example, the Mountain View-based company has reportedly been negotiating with ByteDance and Meta (Opens in a new tab) To index TikTok videos and Instagram Reels within search.
Google also recently introduced the Maps Live View feature, which allows users to see their surroundings by moving the camera on their Android phone over an area. The experience is made even easier with virtual on-screen hints like arrows or text.
TikTok has already proven to be a serious threat to YouTube, surpassing Google’s video-sharing platform in terms of average viewership last year.
The new search results suggest that the ByteDance-owned platform could gobble up search and maps too, if the tech giant doesn’t keep up. Other than that, Google’s new improvements to Maps and Search are at risk of being wasted.