TikTok's AI Smart Search: Enhancing In-App Search Capabilities

TikTok's AI Smart Search: Enhancing In-App Search Capabilities

Lorenzo Garcia
2 min read

TikTok Introduces AI-Powered Smart Search and Search Highlights

TikTok is testing a new feature called "AI Smart Search," utilizing generative AI to provide immediate answers at the top of specific search results. Additionally, the platform has added "search highlights" at the top of search results pages, albeit the source of this information remains ambiguous. This strategic move is part of TikTok's continuous efforts to enhance in-app search functionalities, building upon existing links to Google Search, Wikipedia, IMDb, and other external sites. By integrating AI-generated results, TikTok aims to cater to its younger user base, who increasingly rely on the platform for search purposes, resembling their relationship with Google.

Key Takeaways

  • TikTok is experimenting with a new "search highlights" feature utilizing generative AI for search results.
  • AI-generated results are prominently displayed at the top of specific search result pages, powered by ChatGPT.
  • Introducing "AI Smart Search" raises questions about the scope of AI-generated answers for all queries.
  • The platform is consistently enhancing its in-app search, offering Google Search results and external website links.
  • Young users perceive TikTok as a search engine, signaling the platform's emphasis on AI-generated results, akin to Google.


TikTok's implementation of AI Smart Search and Search Highlights, driven by generative AI like ChatGPT, has the potential to disrupt conventional search engines. This strategic enhancement further solidifies TikTok's in-app search capabilities, already encompassing Google Search functionality and external links. Younger users treating TikTok as a comprehensive search engine are likely to benefit from rapid, AI-generated responses. However, this development may impact Google's market dominance and challenge the reliability of platforms like Wikipedia as primary sources. Over time, a shift in how users access information may lead to heightened competition between social media platforms and search engines. Advertisers and content creators should closely monitor these developments to adapt their strategies accordingly.

Did You Know?

  • Generative AI: This subset of artificial intelligence utilizes machine learning models to generate fresh content, including text, images, or audio. In the context of TikTok's new feature, generative AI is leveraged to provide answers for specific search queries, offering insights on topics such as recipes or the top laptops of 2024. ChatGPT serves as an example of a generative AI model.
  • Search Highlights: This novel feature on TikTok showcases curated information at the forefront of search result pages. While the exact source of this information is undisclosed, it may be generated by AI models, human curators, or a blend of both approaches.
  • AI Smart Search: This new search feature on TikTok features AI-generated results. Although the article does not specify if all queries will receive AI-generated answers, the feature aligns with TikTok's broader objective of enhancing its in-app search capabilities. By integrating AI-generated results, TikTok aims to provide more individualized and pertinent search outcomes for its younger user base, mirroring Google's approach.

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