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Instagram and TikTok overtake Google as preferred search tools

New ideas often disrupt the marketplace, particularly when they resonate well with the younger generation. This is proving to be the case with Instagram and TikTok, with the platforms becoming the preferred sites to launch searches.

According to Google’s senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan, “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.”

This is a huge shift from the traditional use of Google Search and Maps which raised Google’s ranking top among search engines.

TikTok has been among the fastest growing video-sharing app, with the company saying that it recently hit 1 billion monthly users.

Google now says it is facing “robust competition from an array of sources, including general and specialized search engines, as well as dedicated apps.”

The change in search habits is mainly informed by the preference for video as the first stop of discovery for the younger generation.  Google confirmed that a large number of social media users aged 18 to 24 years first land on TikTok or Instagram when searching for a location for lunch. The traditional choice was Google Maps or Search.

“These users don’t tend to type in keywords but rather look to discover content in new, more immersive ways,”  Raghavan said. “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. The queries they ask are completely different,”

As more channels of engagement emerge, Google is forced to be more innovative. Google said last year that there is a possibility that Instagram and TikTok videos will be integrated into Google Search, to make them easily searchable.

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Simon W Nderitu

Simon is a tech enthusiast who keeps a close eye on emerging technologies, startups and the general business environment. You will often catch him totally immersed and drooling over Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, IoT and just about any other tech that promises to revolutionize the way we live. Send tips to

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