TikTok is testing a search-related feature, ‘Nearby Feed’ in Southeast Asia, a possible rival for Google Search

August 24, 2022
2 min read

The news

  • TikTok is testing a new feature in Southeast Asia called Nearby Feed which will allow users to see local content. Currently, it will be displayed alongside the ‘Following’ and ‘For you’ pages. The company is also testing a feature that would enable creators to add location tags to their videos.
  • This is the second search-related feature TikTok is reported to be testing this month and could pit the company against Snapchat's Snap Map and Instagram's searchable map.
  • It is also a contender for Google's increasing loss of the younger demographic to TikTok's video-based content. Google has a similar feature called "near me," which interacts with text and images but doesn't have video capabilities.

Here's some context

Google is currently the search engine with the largest market share, holding down 92.18%. However, according to TechCrunch, the tech giant has acknowledged that TikTok is cutting into its Search product.

Senior vice president, Prabhakar Raghavan, who runs Google’s Knowledge & Information organisation, says younger users often turn to apps like Instagram and TikTok instead of Google Search or Maps to ask questions.

Interestingly, at the Google I/O event in May 2022, Raghavan announced a feature called ‘near me’ that does what TikTok's ‘Nearby Feed’ hopes to do. But per TechCrunch, the tech giant's internal survey of US users aged 18 to 24 revealed that 40% would rather use TikTok and Instagram as a search tool.

This is the second search-related tool TikTok has been revealed to be testing this month. On August 9, 2022, TechCrunch reported a feature which highlights keywords in comments and links to search results for the term.


For businesses looking to reach a younger demographic, it is becoming increasingly essential to use TikTok as a marketing tool. 

For TikTok, however, it has to contend with making sure search results match what users are truly looking for and not just necessarily viral videos.

Should testing go well, Nearby would also compete with Snapchat's Snap Map and Instagram's searchable map.

Writer, Humanoid, Forever she/her, Lover of words. Find me on Twitter @OnomeOneyibo.
Writer, Humanoid, Forever she/her, Lover of words. Find me on Twitter @OnomeOneyibo.
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Writer, Humanoid, Forever she/her, Lover of words. Find me on Twitter @OnomeOneyibo.

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