TikTok to roll out image search feature, competing with Google

TikTok to roll out image search feature, competing with Google


Capture and upload picture of item in search bar and find products in TikTok shop

Follow on
Follow us on Google News

(Web Desk) - Chinese short video platform, TikTok is testing a new feature that allows users to snap or upload photos to find similar products within TikTok Shop, TechCrunch reported.

TikTok, the reigning champion of social media, is now eyeing Google's territory in the realm of search, signalling a direct challenge to Google's dominance in visual search.

The feature, initially spotted by user Jonah Manzano, is currently available to users in the United States and Southeast Asia. Users with access to the feature will notice a camera icon embedded within the search bar of TikTok Shop.

This functionality enables users to seamlessly hunt for products by simply capturing or uploading images, eliminating the need for textual descriptions.

For instance, if you're dining out and fancy the plate you're served on, a quick snap within the TikTok app could unveil similar items available for purchase.

Likewise, if you stumble upon a pricey item while online shopping, you can save its image and utilize TikTok's image search to find comparable, budget-friendly alternatives.

While traditional search methods have existed within TikTok Shop, this innovation marks a significant departure, leveraging the power of visual search akin to Google Lens.

It's a strategic move by TikTok to not only capture users' attention for product discovery but also to encourage transactions within its e-commerce ecosystem.

This development isn't merely a jab at Google or Amazon; it's a broader move to compete with other players in the visual search and e-commerce space, such as Klarna and emerging startups like Cherry.

TikTok's pivot towards e-commerce is evident in its recent revelation that TikTok Shop hosts over 15 million sellers globally, with a substantial presence in the U.S.

The company has invested heavily in platform safety, allocating over $400 million and assembling a team of 7,500 individuals to ensure TikTok Shop's integrity.

Despite facing regulatory hurdles, particularly in the U.S., TikTok remains undeterred in its e-commerce ambitions.

President Biden's recent bill signalling a potential ban if ByteDance fails to divest the platform hasn't halted TikTok's momentum.

Instead, the company views e-commerce as a strategic revenue stream and a means to retain user engagement within its ecosystem.

With its continuous expansion and enhancement of TikTok Shop, TikTok aims to foster increased user engagement and expenditure, solidifying its position as a formidable player in the e-commerce landscape.