30 Sep 2022 Google Exec Suggests Instagram and TikTok Are Eating into Google’s Core Products, Search and Maps
Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan, who runs Google’s Knowledge & Information organization, referenced the popular social apps in a broader conversation at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference about the future of Google’s products and its use of AI.
In a discussion about the evolution of search, he somewhat offhandedly noted that younger users were now often turning to apps like Instagram and TikTok instead of Google Search or Maps for discovery purposes.
“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, adding, “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.
This trend, in fact, was becoming so pronounced that the tech giant confirmed last fall it was working on deals that would allow it to index Instagram and TikTok videos in Search. You can see some of this progress already — search for a keyword followed by the word “TikTok” and Google will return rows of results of TikTok videos before you’ll see any standard webpages.
But Google has also begun to leverage AI to analyze videos on the web and direct users to richer search results, Raghavan said. For example, if you search how to change a tire on Google, it will now show you video results. And now, Google is able to use AI to analyze the parts of the video, so users can jump to the location where it explains how to loosen the lug nuts or raise the jack. The company is working to make its analysis and understanding of video to be on par with documents, Raghavan said. But, he added, “getting that level of deeper understanding is a journey we’re still on.”
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