Google Feels the Heat as TikTok Introduces Picture Search to TikTok Shop

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Google Feels the Heat as TikTok Introduces Picture Search to TikTok Shop

TikTok

TikTok is aiming to challenge Google’s search dominance after taking the lead in social media, with a new feature that allows users to take or share pictures to find similar items in TikTok Shop.

This innovative function was first spotted by X user Jonah Manzano and is available to users in the US and Southeast Asia. For those who have access, a camera icon will appear in the TikTok Shop search bar.

Imagine you’re dining out and fall in love with the plate your meal is served on. You can open the TikTok app, snap a photo, and see if TikTok Shop has similar items for sale. Or, if you’re online shopping and find a top you adore but find the price too steep, you can save the picture and use it to find a more affordable alternative.

Previously, users had to rely on text descriptions to locate items on TikTok Shop. However, this new picture search feature changes the game. Google has offered a similar tool, Google Lens, for years, enabling users to search for items using images. Amazon also provides an image search functionality, making it another competitor TikTok is up against.

In 2022, Google executives acknowledged that platforms like TikTok and Instagram were starting to pressure their primary search product. This underscores TikTok’s growing influence as a search competitor. With this new feature, TikTok aims to become not just a platform for discovering new products but also for purchasing them directly through TikTok Shop.

TikTok’s ambitions don’t stop at competing with Google or Amazon. The company also targets other firms offering image search tools for shopping, such as Klarna and emerging businesses like Cherry.

Recently, TikTok announced that it now boasts over 15 million sellers on TikTok Shop globally, with more than 500,000 based in the United States. The company has invested over $400 million into enhancing the platform’s security and has hired more than 7,500 people to ensure TikTok Shop remains safe.

TikTok is heavily investing in online shopping, viewing TikTok Shop as its next significant revenue stream. The company’s e-commerce initiatives aim to keep users engaged on its app, encouraging them to spend more time and money within the TikTok ecosystem.

Despite potential regulatory challenges in the U.S.—with President Biden signing a bill in April that could ban the app unless it’s sold within a year—TikTok continues to expand its online business. Owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok is pushing forward with its e-commerce growth strategy.

By enhancing and expanding TikTok Shop, the company aims to solidify its position as a key player in the online shopping space.

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