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TikTok Is Becoming A Bigger Search Engine Than Google

TikTok & Instagram Are Eating Into Google's Business

It turns out that the TikTok threat to Google isn't just limited to YouTube. A growing preference for social media is also impacting Google's core services like Search and Maps. Social media has become young users' first stop on their path of discovery, shared Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan from Google's Knowledge & Information department during the Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference.

This means users are now often turning to apps like Instagram and TikTok instead of Google Search or Maps for discovery purposes.

According to Raghavan, these users don't use keywords when they search. Instead, they search for new and more immersive ways to discover content. For example, he noted that nearly 40% of young users go to TikTok or Instagram when looking for a place to eat, as opposed to Google Maps or Search.

The threat of this trend could cut into Google's core business in Search and discovery over time - not to mention all those ads sold against queries like when someone searches "Vegetarian Options Near Me."

It could also mean that all the work Google did over the years to organize, curate, and recommend various businesses, such as local restaurants, could be lost on these younger internet users.

According to Raghavan, young people are interested in more "visually rich forms" of Search and discovery. It isn't just limited to where they eat - it also applies to any business that wants to be found by its target audience online.

Raghavan also suggested younger people's demand for visual content will change Google Search as part of Search's ongoing evaluation.

The tech giant announced last fall that they are working on deals to allow Instagram and TikTok videos in Search. Search for a keyword followed by the word "TikTok," and Google will return rows of results of TikTok videos before you see any standard web pages. You can see some of this progress already.

As more and more businesses begin to realize the potential of platforms like Instagram and TikTok to help grow their brand, we'll likely see even more Google search traffic shift to social media in the coming years.

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