Just TikTok it! How Gen-Z is using TikTok as a search engine

solen feyissa Rd5Z0K1lS7k unsplash


A DANCE app transformed into a SEARCH ENGINE by Gen-Z? Who would’ve thought? But it does make sense though. 

With the number of ads we are seeing on Google, it wasn’t long before that search engine reached its own expiration. Back in the day when people used Yahoo, the number 1 complaint that flooded was the number of ads people kept receiving. I mean, if I’m searching up the correct way to perform The Heimlich maneuver and there’s an ad about the best dresses for a formal occasion, I’d be pretty pissed too. 

While the right thing should be to just be happy that the new generation has the means to search for what their heart desires, however, it’s necessary to deduce why TikTok has such a chokehold on all of us and how Google is in its flop era. 

Why not Google?

Google has been around for decades, nobody ever thought there were any questions that it couldn’t answer. But maybe the problem wasn’t that it couldn’t answer questions, it was all about HOW it answered them. 

As said before, Google’s main downfall is the way it shoves ads in your face. Understandably so, ads are a way for brands to make a LOT of money but when that’s the first search result you get, it’s annoying. 

When a new platform is high up on the trending ladder, it is going to be used for multiple things. Think of it like your favorite shirt, you are going to pair it with as many pants as possible to get the maximum use out of it. This is why it comes as no surprise that TikTok is being used as a search engine now. 

But why choose TikTok out of all platforms?

amanda vick pPV kqfs5wA unsplash

People are more into videos than they are into words. On TikTok, you can easily just watch a 30-second long video and get twice the information that you would’ve gotten if you were to read about it. 

Efficiency might be the top reason but opinions follow close behind. When you’re searching for something on Google, you may find a generic answer to your question but you’d have to be redirected to another platform to get a genuine opinion from someone. On TikTok, you get all of that information and an opinion in one video. 

The trust level that TikTokers have with their audience compels more and more people to rely on them for information. This plays a HUGE role in TikTok being used as a search engine. When reading from Google, you often don’t know where the information is coming from. 

TikTok has a to-the-point algorithm. This means, after around 2 months of usage from your side, all your search results will be custom tailored to your liking. Who would want to leave after THAT? 

Any chances that this may have a dark side?

kal visuals 32iqGBunA U unsplash

Well… Yes, using TikTok as a search engine may have a huge drawback. Let’s take a look at some of the worst possible outcomes

  • Dopamine irregularities 

Probably one of the most dangerous results of TikTok is dopamine irregularities. What is dopamine? It’s a type of neurotransmitter and hormone. Plays a role in movement, memory, pleasurable reward, and motivation, basically a “happy hormone”.

Short videos are dopamine killers. And low and behold, TikTok has nothing but short videos. They kill your attention span and the natural ability to think which lowers your potential and just makes you lazy. In theory, it may not sound like such a bad thing but when we see the effects of it in young adults, it becomes pretty apparent. Grades dropping, lack of motivation, a toll on your mental health, and the list is endless! 


  • Lack of foundation to most claims

Like any other internet platform, TikTok isn’t prone to misinformation. It gets even more terrible when dangerous information is spread that could potentially physically or mentally harm someone with no consequences on TikTok. 

Google can get sued if something happens but that can not be said about TikTok. 

Especially when it comes to creators who take mass advantage of their followers! 


  • TikTok guidelines

TikTok doesn’t provide ALL the information needed because it’s supposed to be a kid’s app. The guidelines are very strict and accounts get banned for the smallest of words.  This causes a huge rift in the information shared. There will always be a part of the information that will be left out due to guidelines. So, I guess TikTok isn’t a know-it-all.  

  • A danger to minors 

What started as a dance app for children has turned into a huge danger for them. TikTok’s age rating is 12+ which means there are a lot of minors on the app who are going public. There aren’t any means to protect them from being catfished or overly sexualized for dances. 

Since TikTok is being used as a search engine, there is no way to shield minors from who they may talk to. 

While there may be minors on google as well, there is little to no way for them to interact with one another. This may not stop pedophiles but at least there’s SOME boundary.

  • Trafficking victims 

Just as how easily minors can get groomed through TikTok, adults and young teens are often victims to human trafficking through the app. One video that reveals a street outside your house, or an innocent day in your life showing your most visited coffee shop is enough to put your life in danger. Using it as a search engine doesn’t necessarily put your life in danger, but you never know who is searching for your street address or city.

  • A life that looks picture perfect

This was pretty common back in 2016 on Instagram. The showcase of a picture-perfect life or, in other words- sugar-coated information only showing the picture-perfect part of any news you are searching for should be labeled as false advertising but unfortunately, it is not.

While heavily filtered pictures of a day to day life may be the cause of some insecurity, heavily filtered information is 10 times worst. A lot of young audiences who haven’t done deep research can end up knowing information that is false, believing and forwarding this could start a chain of deep misinformation.

In conclusion

shingi rice DCXuZ7WzM9I unsplash

This post does take a bit of a deep dive through the negatives of using TikTok as a search engine, but of course, you can’t ignore the pros of it as well, i.e giving a great pathway to the younger generation to access needed information through visuals and having great insight opinions with it as well.

With that being said, what do you think? Will this new search engine last? Or is it a gateway to hell? Let us know what you think!

You might also like