Google says 40% of Gen Z use TikTok and Instagram for Search instead of Google

Google says 40% of Gen Z use TikTok and Instagram for Search instead of Google

TikTok is becoming more than just a competitor for YouTube and its other social media rivals.

According to internal data shared by Google and first reported by TechCrunch, the popularity of the short-form video platform is now impacting core Google services, including Search and Maps. Almost 40% of Gen Z prefer searching on TikTok and Instagram over Google Search and Maps, Google said.

Formerly, TikTok has exploded in popularity in the last couple of years, especially among Gen Z users, and is the fastest-growing social media app. Last year it knocked Google off its throne to become the most visited website in 2021, and so far in 2022, it is the world’s most downloaded app with over 3.5 billion downloads as at April.

TikTok’s popularity has seen its social media competitors Instagram and Snapchat launch copycat video features in Reels and Spotlight.

Now, a top Google executive is confirming that the tech giant is relegated to playing catch-up, as TikTok, through its algorithm and video format, continues to change the way young people conduct internet searches.

Speaking on the evolution of search, Google senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan revealed at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference that younger users were now often turning to apps like Instagram and TikTok instead of Google Search or Maps for discovery purposes.

Raghavan said: “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. The queries they ask are completely different.”

“These users don’t tend to type in keywords but rather look to discover content in new, more immersive ways,” he 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,” he continued. “They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

Google further confirmed this statistic to Business Insider, saying, “we face robust competition from an array of sources, including general and specialized search engines, as well as dedicated apps.”

It highlighted new features coming to its search engine to make it more appealing to a younger audience, including the ability for a user to pan their camera over an area and “instantly glean insights about multiple objects in a wider scene.”

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