Tech Giants Are Racing To Compete With TikTok—Here’s How

 Tech Giants Are Racing To Compete With TikTok—Here’s How


Topline

Google announced Thursday it will take more steps to promote high-quality content in its search results, while the Wall Street Journal reported this week Amazon will try out a new video feature for shoppers, becoming the latest tech giants to introduce changes to try to compete with the increasingly popular TikTok.

Key Facts

Google said it is making updates to ensure high quality content is promoted in its search results, while cutting back on the amount of low-quality, unoriginal content designed “for ranking well in search engines rather than to help or inform people.”

The changes come after Google’s Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan said last month younger people are using apps like TikTok and Instagram instead of Google for searches.

Amazon, meanwhile, is trying out a stream of TikTok-like photos and videos in its app called “Inspire,” where shoppers can like, share and purchase items in the same place, the Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the product.

The new portal is being tested by Amazon employees, but could be launched more broadly, the Journal reported.

Amazon spokesperson Alyssa Bronikowski told Forbes the company is “constantly testing new features to help make customers’ lives a little easier.”

Big Number

One billion. That’s how many monthly active users TikTok said it had in September 2021, a 45% increase from the year before.

Key Background

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has taken a series of steps this year to make improvements to Google’s search engine and maps function to help draw in younger users, including new features for people to search for nearby items using images and discover physical objects using their phone cameras. Raghavan told Bloomberg in May the company was aiming for Google Search to “be something that you can do anywhere, in any way you want, using any of your senses.” Meta, too, has attempted to compete with TikTok’s popularity, launching short videos known as reels in 2020 for Instagram users, followed by Facebook users this year. Alphabet also created a new feature called “Shorts” for YouTube, a short-form video platform designed to look like TikTok. TikTok is currently trying out a new feature to improve its own search functions by identifying keywords in comments and linking to search results for the words. The app has surged in popularity since it was launched in 2016, becoming the third largest worldwide social media platform behind Instagram and Facebook in 2021, according to Insider Intelligence. Raghavan said in July Google has found about 40% of young people turn to popular social media apps like TikTok or Instagram “when they’re looking for a place for lunch,” instead of Google Maps or Search, key products for Alphabet.

Contra

Instagram last month decided to pause changes designed to make the app look more like TikTok, including a redesign of its feed, after facing a host of criticisms from users, including major creators like Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian. It had planned to prioritize video content over photos, but decided to “take a big step back and regroup,” after facing a backlash over the modifications, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said at the time.

Further Reading

Google will roll out new updates to reduce low-quality and unoriginal content in search results (Tech Crunch)

Amazon Tests TikTok-Like Feed in App (Wall Street Journal)

Google Is Remaking Search, Maps for the TikTok Generation (Bloomberg)

Instagram Pauses On Some TikTok-Like Changes—For Now—After Complaints (Forbes)



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