TikTok is testing a new feature that integrates Google Search into its own in-app search results. The test, spotted by app researcher Radu Oncescu, shows a small box midway down TikTok’s search page that invites users to search for the same terms on Google.
TechCrunch has reached out to both companies for details on the feature, which currently does not show up in search for all users — including in our own tests. A TikTok spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the Google Search feature is one of the third-party integrations the app is currently testing in some markets.
Last week, The Verge reported that TikTok is also experimenting with incorporating Wikipedia entries directly into its search results. As TikTok expands in every direction at once, it’s clear the app has ambitions to become a one-stop shop for anything users might want to do online, not just a repository of viral dance moves.
While only a test for now, the inclusion of Google Search is interesting for a few reasons. For one, last year a Google executive who runs the company’s Knowledge & Information division observed that young users who once would have used Google are now turning to TikTok and Instagram to search the internet instead.
“We keep learning, over and over again, that new internet users don’t have the expectations and the mindset that we have become accustomed to,” Google senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan said. “In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search.”
While we can’t verify those ballpark figures, that behavior shift is a major change from the way that people have gone online for years. Social apps already capture a huge swath of their users’ time and it’s not a stretch to imagine that young people would have little need to leave TikTok when searching for something.
It’s worth noting that Raghavan’s observation also serves Google’s legal argument that its search business has plenty of healthy competition. The company is currently facing the Justice Department in an antitrust trial that’s expected to stretch on for months, all centered around search.