We have gone from “googling” to “tiktoking”. For as long as we have been using technology, when we have needed to know more about a topic on the internet, we have searched through Google. For many years, Google has held the lead in terms of the best search engines, but now it has a tough competitor: TikTok. The growing success of this platform among Generation Z is putting one of the best search engines we have had to date on the ropes as it uses TikTok as its new search engine.
TikTok has become a trusted source and means of communication, all in one application. Users do not need to go to other channels to find what they are looking for. Through this app, young people can find all kinds of news, from politics to product recommendations, transmitted in a close and friendly way.
Google conducted internal research which found that 40% of young people belonging to Generation Z prefer to search on TikTok or Instagram rather than Google, and you may wonder why?
Why does Generation Z use TikTok as a search engine?
Generation Z, the young people born between 1995 and 2010, are turning TikTok into a new search engine. This is because this generation is more comfortable with more visual content.
Young people seeking information through TikTok are attracted by its entertainment capacity, as the platform accompanies the information with audiovisual elements such as a short video, music or special effects that are more dynamic and suggestive than simply reading a text article.
TikTok offers a more accessible range of content that avoids the tedious reading that, for example, Google results require. For this reason, they prefer TikTok, as it allows them to collect other users’ opinions on products and services, as well as providing a sense of naturalness and authenticity as real people create the content and provide answers.
Does TikTok provide quality information?
Not all that glitters is gold. According to research by NewsGuard, based on searches across 27 topics, the app’s audience, mostly teenagers and young adults, is constantly exposed to false and misleading claims when searching TikTok for information on prominent topics.
This study indicates that almost 20% of the videos presented as search results for topics such as the war in Ukraine, the coronavirus or elections contained misinformation.
Nearly 20% of the videos presented as search results for topics such as the war in Ukraine, the coronavirus or school shootings contained misinformation.
The cause of this lies in the platform’s algorithm, whose main objective is to keep users as long as possible on the social network, which clashes completely with the dynamics of contrasting information, i.e. consulting external sources.
In addition, that research found that the app repeatedly delivered videos containing false claims in the top 20 results, often within the top five; while Google provided higher quality results with far less misinformation.
It should be noted that, even so, despite the fact that almost half of Generation Z young people prefer Instagram or TikTok for queries, 90% of the search market is still dominated by the US company. Will it continue to do so in the near future?