The way we consume media has been changing rapidly, over and over, for like a decade. And as the nature of media consumption changes, so too must the dexterous hand of capitalism, with its long fingers of advertisers, and those dirty unclipped fingernails of new media-based revenue models.
Clunky, extended analogies aside, the developers over at TikTok seem to be innovating some impressive new strategies to engage users and make money through social media: they’ve just released an “in-video search tool”, the power of which is both exciting and terrifying.
— Matthew Brennan (@mbrennanchina) September 23, 2019
Users on TikTok (or Douyin in Chinese) can now simply press the “Search” button mid-video, drag a rectangle around the target area, and instantly perform a visual search for the area’s contents.
If you select someone’s face, the app will show you a list of other videos that they appear in. If you select a shirt someone is wearing, the app will do its best to locate that shirt on an e-commerce site.
<a href="https://radii.co/article/how-douyin-tik-tok-became-the-most-popular-app-in-the-world"> <div class="related-wrapper"> <div class="related-image"> <img src="https://imagedelivery.net/WLUarKbmUXuuhDC7PG5_Qw/articles/9cbc1d93b7a1538f6e3b3053e227013f.jpg/public" alt="douyin tiktok video app china"/> </div> <div class="related-content"> <div class="related-title"> <span>How Douyin (TikTok) Became the Most Popular App in the World</span> </div> <div class="related-subtitle"> <span>Douyin (TikTok) has weathered repeated controversy to be named as the most downloaded non-game app on Apple's App Store for the first quarter of 2018</span> </div> <div class="related-footer"> <span>Article</span> <span>May 09, 2018</span> </div> </div> </div> </a>
It’s not the first time we’ve seen “visual search engines” — Google lets you search for instances of a chosen picture that appear on the internet, and online marketplace Taobao lets you upload a picture in order to search for a product. But TikTok’s new search capabilities go one step further, taking the viewer directly from the video to a deeper destination of content/purchase.
The feature is currently still in the testing phase, and it’s only available on the Chinese version of the app — but ostensibly, the new capability will appear on international versions of TikTok sometime soon.
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