TikTok is currently morphing into much more than a space for sharing short, creative videos, proving the ability to evolve and adapt coming from all the popular social media. The platform's users, mainly the younger population, are turning to it as a source of information, covering diverse topics from local dining locations to trending global news.
A notable example of this shift is the quiet introduction of Wikipedia snippets in its search results, a change that was quietly implemented, with no official announcement from the company.
TikTok's Stealthy Collaboration With Wikipedia
It was only after users noticed and pointed out the new feature related to Wikipedia that TikTok's spokesperson, Zachary Kizer, confirmed the addition. According to Kizer, TikTok has been working with Wikipedia to seamlessly incorporate informational content directly into the platform's app. This feature, active for several months now, was brought into the limelight only recently.
The Functionality Of The Wikipedia Snippets
The Wikipedia snippets appear as users navigate through search results in the app, nestled among relevant videos. Users can access detailed Wikipedia information by simply tapping on the snippet. Additional links at the bottom guide users to various sections of the associated Wikipedia page for more extensive reading.
However, the availability of the snippets is not consistent across all search terms.
While cities such as New York and Los Angeles have snippets, cities like Chicago, surprisingly, do not. Likewise, while very specific search terms like the "New York Mets 2015 season" may result in a related Wikipedia snippet, the criteria governing which search terms generate Wikipedia snippets remains ambiguous.
Other Recent TikTok's Additional Features
While TikTok's search feature might not be as exhaustive as Google's, it has integrated unique features over time. Just last month, TikTok began monetizing its search results via the inclusion of sponsored content amidst organic videos. Another significant development is the partnership with IMDb, enabling creators to add links to movies and TV shows in their videos. IMDb links and snippets are also displayed in certain search results.
In the end, it is clear that the transformation of this social media into a viable search resource is a noteworthy shift. Competitors such as Google have acknowledged the potential threat platforms like TikTok pose to their dominance in the search arena.
As Prabhakar Raghavan, the SVP in charge of search at Google, observed last year, nearly 40 percent of young people are using TikTok or Instagram for their searches, bypassing Google Maps or Search. This trend already underscores the evolving role of social media platforms and their potential to shape the future of online search.