Here are all the new features Google recently announced that show how seriously the company is taking the threat of TikTok becoming Gen Z's search engine of choice

Sundar Pichai speaks onstage Vox Media's 2022 Code Conference on September 06, 2022
Google CEO Sundar Pichai.Jerod Harris/Getty Images
  • Google has rolled out new features to win back young users who reportedly have turned to TikTok as a search engine.

  • Some features include a neighborhood "vibe" feature and updated ways for users to search for top-rated local restaurants.

  • Many of Google's announcements seem aimed to make the search process more visual — and more entertaining.

TikTok is quietly encroaching on Google's search engine dominance, especially with young people, and Google has announced a number of new features to seemingly try to beat back the competition.

At a conference in July, Google SVP Prabhakar Raghavan told attendees that according to Google's internal data, "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, they go to TikTok or Instagram."

On Wednesday, at Google's 'Search On' event, the tech giant announced several visual changes to its map and search features to win back those young users and potentially make the searching process more entertaining.

This isn't the only recent announcement aimed at taking on TikTok.

Youtube, which is owned by Google, announced last week that it would share advertising revenue with short-form creators in an apparent attempt to coax influencers away from TikTok and Reels.

Check out the updates Google announced on Wednesday to appeal to young users.

 

'Vibe' Check

Google's neighborhood vibe
Google's neighborhood vibeGoogle

Google announced it's unveiling a "neighborhood vibe feature" that allows users to preview a neighborhood before visiting it using Google Maps. Google said it will help people see the most popular spots in a specific area "thanks to helpful photos and information from the Google Maps community right on the map."

Even the use of the word "vibe" is notable in Google's announcement. It appears to be an attempt to use Gen Z vernacular to appeal to younger users.

Immersive view

Google's immersive view screenshots
Google's immersive view screenshotsGoogle

Google says it has added 250 landmarks to its "immersive view feature," which includes "photorealistic aerial views" of landmarks. Using historical data, the feature helps predict the weather, traffic, and how busy a certain area will be.

Perfecting Food searches

Google food search screenshot
Google food search screenshotGoogle

Google says its research shows that 40% of people already have a dish in mind when searching for a restaurant. Google will now allow users to search for a specific dish and see which places offer it in people's local areas.

The tech giant takes food searching a step further, though. Users can also search images of food taken from social media and include a "near me" function for food suggestions.

Search with Live View

Google search with live view screenshot
Google search with live view screenshotGoogle

This feature allows users to hold up their cell phone cameras and search their surrounding area for anything from an ATM to grocery stores nearby. Google says the feature will start rolling out in some major cities in the coming months.

New features vs. TikTok

Screengrabs of TikToks with travel recommendations
Screengrabs of TikToks with travel recommendationsTikTok

Many of Google's announcements seem aimed to make the search process more visual and, in some ways, more entertaining.

But there is still a big question as to whether the features will effectively win over young users. Many seem to take aim at TikTok's user-generated video content. Content creators often post popular videos on TikTok with lists of "favorite places in New York" or "the best places to visit in San Francisco," which include restaurants, shopping, and sightseeing suggestions.

But Google's internal data shows that young people don't use TikTok as a search engine the same way they might use Google. On TikTok, they search for suggested places or activities and refer to comments on videos to check the results against the consensus of other users.

What's clear is that many Gen Z users trust the videos they watch on TikTok, but it remains to be seen whether Google can similarly establish that trust with young users.

Read the original article on Business Insider