Image credit: Solen Feyissa

In a move to make search more like Google and less about videos, TikTok have added new AI results to users searches.

TikTok has taken over the world in recent years with a focused platform. Short, vertical videos with a focus on trends and viral material took the world by storm. However, their latest addition takes some of the focus away from videos.

TikTok are experimenting with a new results page for users searches. With what they’re calling ‘AI Smart Search’, TikTok are presenting text-based answers to search queries. The responses are provided by ChatGPT and appear beneath the search bar and above the video results.

These AI results span from AI-generated responses for recipe ideas to answering questions. It goes some way to transforming their search into a tool rather than a channel to video content. However, whilst it may be a benefit to curious users its not clear how potentially diverting viewers from video content benefits TikTok.

TikTok search results page for “chia seed pudding recipe” showing AI results at the top. Clicking the result takes you to a full screen page.
Image credit: TikTok

This isn’t the first move of TikTok to providing a more answer-based search. Last year, they began testing with Google Search results that would appear in the app’s results page. These results linked back to Google results. Additionally, they’ve experimented with adding links to Wikipedia, IMDB, and some other sites.

Long ago, YouTube bolstered its platform by acting more like a search engine. However, their approach was based on providing YouTube content as answers. You search with a question and videos answering it appear as the results. TikTok’s strategy seems to push away to provide a more generalised answer that potentially pushes users from finding the answers within other users’ content.

These features are being tested and are not currently set to be released widely.

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