Trends change with time. And at the moment it seems like the glory days of Google have come to an end because Google is not the irreplaceable search engine anymore nor is it the first thought that pops into peoples’ minds the moment they have a doubt or are in search of some fact or information. TikTok, the top-rated Chinese app is slowly becoming the preferred substitute for Google and a favorite choice of Generation Z who are way too busy to flip through Google. Well, when they can have instant information without the added hassle of reading and processing information, why would they not choose TikTok?
Gen Z’s Favourite
Who would have thought that a video app would soon come to replace the invincible search engine? And yet here we are bearing witness to the younger generation turning their backs on Google and embracing TikTok. This growing trend hasn’t gone unnoticed by Google. A senior vice president at the company, Prabhakar Raghavan has acknowledged the fact that over 40 percent of the Gen Zs prefer TikTok or Instagram over Google to search for information.
One major reason for this drastic change is the content quality of TikTok which makes it more trustworthy to the users. While TikTok is used as the primary source of information, Google has been reduced to the status of a mere tool used to confirm the facts.
“Before, whenever I had a doubt about something, I immediately went to Google, but now I go to TikTok first, because I trust it more, and because of the content’s quality. Only when I am not convinced, or when I don’t find what I am looking for, do I use Google, and the truth is, that happens rarely,” says 22-year-old TikTok user, Rosa Rodriguez.
The main factor that makes TikTok a favorite among Gen Z is its speed and the added convenience of not having to read through paragraphs of fact. Because where Google takes paragraphs and paragraphs to explain something, TikTok does that in a few seconds through a video. In a generation that is behind instant solutions, the popularity of an app like TikTok is inevitable. The inherent visual element of the videos and the attraction of seeing things for yourself through the videos make TikTok all the more intriguing to the users. Perhaps, author Fatima Martinez is not wrong when she says that TikTok has revolutionized everything.
However, the increasing popularity of TikTok also points towards a generation that is exhausted by thinking and prefers living by the visual instead of actually thinking and reflecting. Retrospection might already have become a thing of the past. Professor Ubaldo Cuesta thinks that our society is edging “towards liquid modernity and superficial thinking” as the Polish Philosopher Bauman said. Cuesta is also of the opinion that the young generation these days has become “Homo videns: man who lives by the image.”
The brevity and speed and the whole visual attraction of the present moment have made TikTok an unbeatable opponent for Google, and in order to become a worthy contender, Google has no choice but to adapt.