Google’s position as the world’s most popular search engine could be under threat as younger users turn to popular social media apps to conduct queries instead.
TechCrunch reported this week that 40% Gen Z now prefer to use search on TikTok and Instagram rather than Google.
The shift in search habits among teenagers and young adults was first recognised by Google itself, which admits that its services will need to evolve to keep up with changing expectations.
The company’s senior vice president, Prabhakar Raghavan, recently spoke about a potential transformation in how searches are conducted online.
He notes: “In our studies, 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.”
While this might seem strange to older internet users, Raghavan says younger users are becoming accustomed to doing things differently as they don’t have the same mindset.
Many of the queries they ask are completely different too.
This could pose a problem for Google, which currently commands around a 90% global search engine market share, if it is not agile enough to adapt.
Google is aware of the threats after admitting it faces “robust competition” from dedicated apps and other specialised search engines.
In order to retain its competitive edge and cater to younger searchers with new demands, Google recently announced new search-based camera capabilities.
This will allow users to pan their smartphone cameras across an area and get insights about objects in the scene.
In a blog post announcing the feature, Google said typing words into search is “second nature” for many people but that it isn’t “natural” for everyone.
This highlights how Google is ready and willing to offer users new ways to search for the things they want to know or buy.
TikTok will remain a threat, though, as tech experts also expect the hugely popular social media app’s ad revenue to surge past that of YouTube by 2024.