40% of Gen Z now search through TikTok, Instagram instead of Google

A Google executive revealed that almost half of Gen Z are now searching through social media platforms, mainly TikTok and Instagram, instead of Google Search and Maps.

At the Fortune Brainstorm Tech Conference which took place this week in Aspen, Colorado, Prabhakar Raghavan, a Senior Vice President at Google, said that nearly 40% of Gen Z users now prefer TikTok and Instagram to Google Search and Maps, when they search for restaurants, for example. 

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.” said Raghavan, who is responsible for Google Search, Assistant, Ads, Commerce, Geo and Payments. “In our studies, 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.”

TikTok also surpassed Google as the most visited website in 2021. (Read more

To keep up with the changing user behaviours and the rising competition with social media companies, Google is now adopting new features and technologies to lure Gen Z, said Raghavan. 

In 2020, the tech giant started testing a new ‘Short Videos’ carousel where it displays TikToks and Instagram reels that are relevant to the search queries. Last fall, the company confirmed it was in talks with Meta (formerly known as Facebook) and ByteDance for possible collaborations. 

The company also launched the Live View feature for Maps users allowing them to see places around them using device cameras. 

In addition, Raghavan added that voice searches now drive 30% of all search queries in some markets, as most of the younger generation prefer not to type while making an online search. 

He attributed this habit of not typing to the discovery algorithms of social media platforms which automatically show users content based on their interests, not requiring them to take any action. 

Written by Maya Robertson

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