If there is a product they want to buy or something they want to know, their first course of action is to search for it on TikTok. 

Media, in all its forms, is changing daily — especially in the way that we use it.

When TikTok arrived, it was created as this fun, entertaining short-form video social media platform. And personally, as a Millennial, I never thought it would be a social media platform that I would download or use. #InstagramForever.

But when the pandemic hit in 2020, there was only so much Tiger King I could binge and, eventually, I caved — and I was hooked. I mean, I would literally sit and scroll for hours and hours.

With its incredible algorithm, it's no wonder why TikTok has grown in popularity. Gen Zs are now using this app as a search engine and not just as a source of entertainment. Here's why that is … 

Keep scrolling as media update's Saads Abrahams explains why TikTok is being used as a search engine.

Why TikTok slowly became a search engine

When we want to know something, like where to eat or which sunscreen is the best, we will obviously do some research and Google the question so that we can make an informed decision. 

When it comes to the younger generations, genuine and unbiased opinions on something are more highly regarded. With the rise of social media influencers and user-generated content (UGC), Gen Zs and some Millennials would rather trust these personal sources for information than information directly from the source. 

In 2022, Prabhakar Raghavan — the SVP of search at Google — said, "Something like almost 40% of young people, when they are looking for a place for lunch, they don't go to Google Maps or Search; they go to TikTok or Instagram."

In 2024, Adobe did a survey, and it showed that 61% of Gen Zs and 49% of Millennials use TikTok as a search engine. The most popular searches were new recipes, new music and DIY tips.

The importance of trust

The younger generations value trust and authenticity above all else. Many TikTok users view it as a reliable source of information. While it may be great when it comes to what to buy and how to recreate an iconic look, users should still be wary of fake or inaccurate information being shared. 

This is where Google still comes in. There are many "doctors" on TikTok giving medical advice. While there may be qualified doctors who are sharing sound advice, anyone listening and considering this advice should definitely do some more research off of TikTok and find reputable sources who can confirm or deny the information.

Why search engines like Google are still valuable

Search engines such as Google have put a lot of tech and work into their backlink systems to ensure that the top links that appear when you search for something are credible and correct

TikTok, on the other hand, still has a long way to go when it comes to what you see when you search because the platform still works with social mentions such as hashtags. So, someone could add a hashtag that has nothing to do with what they have posted — and when you are searching for said topic, you can find unhelpful and inaccurate videos.

Why TikTok is the fan favourite

TikTok is the favourite among the younger generations because it gives them information in a short video. They no longer need to read through multiple articles online or watch a 30-minute video on YouTube. 

Not only does TikTok allow users to get a lot of information in a short video form, but the algorithm also matches your interest. Users are now able to get multiple videos on that topic — without having to search for it.


Do you think that TikTok is the new Google? Let us know in the comment section below. 

Want to stay up-to-date with the latest news? Subscribe to our newsletter

If TikTok is your platform of choice, be sure to check out our tips on How to go viral on TikTok — in 200 words or less.
*Image courtesy of Canva