TikTok Quietly Rolls Out Image Search For Shopping

Tiktok app on phone with tiktok shop image search tool
TikTok Shop Image Search Burdun Iliya/Shutterstock Phoenix 1319/Shutterstock @jonah_manzano/X

Google better watch out, as TikTok has made another play in its quest for search engine dominance. This time, it’s through image search. 

The company, which is in the process of suing the U.S. government over a potential ban of the app, told TechCrunch that it is testing the ability for users to take or upload a picture to find matching products in TikTok Shop. 

How does TikTok Shop Image Search work?

The feature, which is currently available to users in the U.S. and Southeast Asia, is accessible via a camera icon in the TikTok Shop search bar. 

For all intents and purposes, this feature works in the same way as Google Lens. Just snap (or upload) a picture of the item you’re interested in, then let TikTok Shop find the item for you. 

TikTok as a search engine

In the past, TikTok has made clear its intention to compete with Google. When it rolled out its Creator Search Insights tool, the company said in a blog post that “search powers discovery” on TikTok. If we look at the data, that backs it up pretty well. 

A study by Adobe, which was based on 808 survey respondents, found that nearly 1 in 10 members of Gen Z were more likely to rely on TikTok than Google as a search engine. The survey also found that nearly half (41%) of consumers had used TikTok as a search engine. 

Needless to say, TikTok has come a long way since the days of sparking drama with its search bar suggestions, and with this new image search feature, the likes of Google and Amazon should be very afraid. 

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