Gen Z Is Turning to TikTok as Go-To Search Engine, Claims Google
Trump Gives TikTok and Oracle Deal His ‘Blessing'

Gen Z Is Turning to TikTok as Go-To Search Engine, Claims Google

TikTok has already dominated the social media landscape. Now, its users are helping it become a search engine.

While at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference, Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan said internal research indicates that users aged 18 to 24 are forgoing Google Search or Maps and instead sending their inquiries to social media sites. Despite growing concern about misinformation on such platforms, TechCrunch reported that TikTok and Instagram are now steering attention away from the core feature that launched the company into notoriety.

“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,” Raghavan said at the conference.

Google, for its part, wants to highlight TikTok and Instagram videos in its search engine. Additionally, Raghavan said the search engine is incorporating more visuals while also leaning into voice searches.

As TikTok users film their meals and often add short, quippy reviews, Raghavan said Gen Z is turning to social media apps for their next lunch spot. Many TikTok users turn to influencers for food suggestions, with Los Angeles restaurants like The Red Chickz and Paris Tokyo gaining notoriety on the app.

Users often check the app for a wide range of recommendations. Raghavan’s statements confirm that TikTok users are turning to the video-sharing app for information. Videos under the hashtag for facts, hacks and recommendations, #tiktoktaughtme, have gained a cumulative 8 billion views.

Influencers on TikTok, however, often do not accurately disclose when a video includes sponsored content, as required by the Federal Trade Commission. And marketing companies have shifted to incorporate ideologies, like Urban Legend, an ad-tech startup that recruits social media celebrities from macro to nano to create content around everything from climate change to discouraging mask mandates. Urban Legend’s strategy draws on the idea that users who turn to influencers for recipe recommendations or fashion trends may also trust their opinion on political issues—even if many of the posts were not flagged as sponsored.

TikTok has also come under fire for misinformation—from the potentially harmful abortion tips to international elections to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the app has been criticized for not doing enough to combat it. Google has also been criticized for how its algorithm can highlight misinformation, such as suggesting “fake” abortion clinics.

With TikTok’s growing popularity, Google must contend with how to capture Gen Z’s attention as they try to retain that audience. And TikTok, for all its problems, has helped communities come together to inform people about topics ranging from autism diagnoses for women to astrological terms to LGBTQ+ information. Suggestions get local, too, with Los Angeles residents sharing free things to do downtown, vintage stores to shop at and museums to visit—succinctly providing recommendations with flashy videos.

Here's How To Get a Digital License Plate In California

Thanks to a new bill passed on October 5, California drivers now have the choice to chuck their traditional metal license plates and replace them with digital ones.

The plates are referred to as “Rplate” and were developed by Sacramento-based Reviver. A news release on Reviver’s website that accompanied the bill’s passage states that there are “two device options enabling vehicle owners to connect their vehicle with a suite of services including in-app registration renewal, visual personalization, vehicle location services and security features such as easily reporting a vehicle as stolen.”

Read moreShow less
Steve Huff
Steve Huff is an Editor and Reporter at dot.LA. Steve was previously managing editor for The Metaverse Post and before that deputy digital editor for Maxim magazine. He has written for Inside Hook, Observer and New York Mag. Steve is the author of two official tie-ins books for AMC’s hit “Breaking Bad” prequel, “Better Call Saul.” He’s also a classically-trained tenor and has performed with opera companies and orchestras all over the Eastern U.S. He lives in the greater Boston metro area with his wife, educator Dr. Dana Huff.
ServiceTitan Reportedly Files for IPO at a Possible $18 Billion Valuation

ServiceTitan—which has parlayed its field service software for contractors into one of Southern California’s most valuable tech startups—has reportedly confidentially filed for an initial public offering, Business Insider reported Tuesday.

The Glendale-based firm is said to be pursuing a valuation as high as $18 billion via an IPO sometime this year—though the report cautioned that both the timing and valuation could change. At that figure, ServiceTitan would rank among the five-most valuable venture capital-backed businesses in Southern California, according to Pitchbook data.

Read moreShow less
Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to