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TikTok comes for Google as it quietly rolls out image search capabilities in TikTok Shop | TechCrunch

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses TikTok's plans to challenge Google's dominance in search by introducing a new feature that allows users to search for similar products using image search within the TikTok Shop. This feature is currently being tested in the US and Southeast Asia.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] TikTok's New Image Search Feature

1. What is the new feature that TikTok is testing?

  • TikTok is testing the ability for users to take or upload a photo to find similar products in TikTok Shop.
  • This feature allows users to search for products by uploading an image, rather than relying solely on textual descriptions.

2. How does the new feature work?

  • Users can open the TikTok app, snap a picture of an item (e.g., a plate at a restaurant), and the app will show similar products available for purchase on TikTok Shop.
  • Users can also upload an image of a product they found online, and the app will show similar items with potentially lower prices.

3. How is this feature different from what other companies offer?

  • Google has offered a similar visual search tool called Google Lens for years.
  • Amazon also currently offers image search capabilities for shopping.
  • TikTok is looking to compete with these tech giants by providing a similar image search feature within its own TikTok Shop platform.

4. What are TikTok's goals with this new feature?

  • TikTok wants to get people to use its app when looking for new products, and it hopes people will make purchases through TikTok Shop.
  • By expanding TikTok Shop's capabilities, the company aims to keep users on its app and increase e-commerce revenue.

[02] TikTok's E-commerce Ambitions

1. How significant is TikTok's e-commerce business?

  • TikTok Shop now has more than 15 million sellers worldwide, including over 500,000 in the U.S.
  • TikTok has invested heavily in platform safety, creating a team of more than 7,500 people to help keep TikTok Shop safe.

2. Why is TikTok focusing on e-commerce?

  • TikTok sees TikTok Shop as its next big potential revenue source, as the company is betting big on e-commerce.
  • By building out and expanding TikTok Shop's capabilities, TikTok hopes to keep users on its app and increase the time and money they spend on its e-commerce platform.

3. What are the challenges TikTok faces with its e-commerce efforts?

  • TikTok is expanding its e-commerce efforts despite facing a potential ban in the U.S. due to concerns over its Chinese parent company, ByteDance.
  • In April 2023, President Biden signed a bill that will ban TikTok if ByteDance fails to sell the app within a year.
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