China-owned TikTok is reportedly testing a new feature that integrates Google Search within its app, a development that experts believe could significantly boost traffic and ad revenue for both the fanatically leftist American tech giant and its Chinese communist counterpart.
Business Insider reports that TikTok, the Chinese social media giant, is in the testing phases of a pioneering partnership with Google, aiming to enhance its search features. This integration was discovered by app researcher Radu Oncescu, who noted that some searches conducted within the TikTok app now present an option to extend the search on Google. This feature directs users to an in-app browser, showcasing Google’s search results for the respective query, creating a seamless and integrated user experience.
CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 20: The TikTok logo is displayed outside a TikTok office on December 20, 2022 in Culver City, California. Congress is pushing legislation to ban the popular Chinese-owned social media app from most government devices. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc., during the Google I/O Developers Conference in Mountain View, California, US, on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. Google introduced a new large language model, used for training artificial intelligence tools like chatbots, known as PaLM 2, and said it has already woven it into many of the internet search company’s marquee products. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
TikTok has confirmed the ongoing experimentation with third-party integrations within its app, including this test with Google. The company has emphasized that this feature is not related to advertising and has also issued a disclaimer stating it “does not endorse or take responsibility for search results from Google.” On the other hand, Google has remained tight-lipped, not divulging any details regarding potential financial agreements associated with this partnership.
“Brands want to quickly reach younger audiences, and both platforms have the power to do this if they will learn to work together,” stated Oncescu, highlighting the immense potential for brands to connect effectively with younger demographics through this integration.
This partnership is not merely about enhancing user experience; it also has significant implications for user engagement and data collection. By enabling users to stay within the app for extended periods, TikTok can potentially tap into a wealth of data about its users’ search and browsing habits. This extensive data collection could be instrumental for TikTok in tailoring content and features to user preferences and behaviors, maximizing user engagement and satisfaction.
Of course, the integration could also allow TikTok to push Chinese propaganda and Google to further interfere with elections, as it did in 2020 by blacklisting Breitbart News stories about Joe Biden from search.
Read more at Business Insider here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.