Imagine a world without Google.
The search engine technology company systemically changed how we interact, research, and find information online. The term “Google” even became a transitive verb, and was added to the Oxford Dictionary and to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary in 2006.
Yet, younger generations are steering away from the search engine powerhouse, finding quicker and more personalized results on a surprising platform – TikTok.
The short-form video hosting service soared in popularity following the discontinuation of Vine and the steadily declining of Facebook, as younger generations prefer creating branded and user content, such as the types found on Instagram and YouTube.
However, it seems TikTok has become more than just an entertainment platform. With over one billion accounts, many are utilizing the app for educational purposes, whether looking to further build on professional skills or seeking information to build upon a hobby. TikTok has become a limitless portal of knowledge, with unique algorithms that, in some cases, produce quicker and more accurate results based on a variety of factors, such as the user’s interests, ethnicity, and geographical regions.
For many, seeking out reviews and information from other individuals with experience on the matter, far surpasses Google keywords. When looking for travel destinations or a new brunch spot, TikTok soared to the top position of internet rankings in 2021 and has held the title name ever since.
In short, the reasoning for many to opt for TikTok results over Google merely comes down to the platform’s algorithm. Through its sophisticated technology, backend TikTok experts note their “excessive training data” as one of the critical principles in beating Google for the top search spot. Plus, TikTok uses a variety of factors when targeting users, which are more behaviorally focused than traditional search engines.
In fact, the TikTok trend has been sparking massive attention across social media, with the current hashtag #tiktoktaughtme raking in over ten billion views. From cooking hacks to how to properly bench press, beauty tips, and more, it’s clear why so many are gravitating to TikTok instead of Google, especially regarding everyday life hacks.
However, while TikTok has indeed upheld its title in becoming a frontrunner for search, users must adhere to caution for political and news stories, as misinformation has become a problematic consequence of the app. As the U.S. midterm elections draw near, TikTok is working on a strategy to combat false political information.
This isn’t the first time the social media platform faced unruly political propaganda. Many users believe TikTok to be the core information center of the January 6th riots and of the false information spewed out on the 2020 “stolen” election. To date, TikTok has strategized a plan to broaden fact-checker partnerships, update user policies, and work directly with key personnel within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
As for Google, it doesn’t seem that the tech company has anything to worry about – just yet.
To attract a younger demographic, Google is working to include TikTok and social media hashtags in top searches. It also revealed advanced features, including using cameras from smartphones to uncover information about “multiple objects in a wider scene.”
As for the future of Google, TikTok, and whatever new platforms have yet to bubble up, it seems that the online future for Gen Z is certainly an energizing and stimulating one.