Google is testing a new feature that will surface Instagram and TikTok videos in its own dedicated carousel in the Google mobile app – a move that could help the company keep users looking for social video entertainment from completely leaving Google’s platform. The feature itself is expanding on a test launched earlier this year, where Google had first introduced a carousel of “short videos” in Google Discover – the personal power found in the Google mobile app and left on the home screen of some Android devices.
To be clear, this “short videos” carousel is different from Google’s stories, which rolled out in October 2020 to the Google Search app for iOS and Android. These “Stories”
Meanwhile, the carousel “Short Videos” had been focused on collecting social video from other platforms, including Google’s own short video project Tangi, Indian TikTok competitor Trell, and Google’s own video platform, YouTube – which has also been experimenting with short content lately.
The expansion to include Instagram and TikTok content in this carousel was first reported by the Search Engine Roundtable (via Brian Freiesleben’s tweet). They accessed the feature by searching for “packages” in the Google app and then scrolling down the page.
We managed to recreate this as well. (See image below.)
We found that the short video carousel appears as you scroll through the Google Bay Knowledge Base box for the Green Bay Packers, followed by scores, top stories, Twitter results, top results, photos, videos, and other content, as a list of players. , location and more.
Both Instagram and TikTok videos were available in the Short Videos row. When you click, you will be taken to the online version of the social platform – not the original mobile app, even if it is installed on your device. The end result is that Google users are more likely to stay on Google, as all it takes is a tap on the back arrow to return to the search results after watching the video.
Google has been indexing video content for many years and partnered with Twitter in 2015 to index search results. However, it is not clear to what extent it has any formal relationship with Facebook / Instagram or TikTok. (If these companies comment, we will update.)
Google declined to formally comment or detail its plans, but a spokesman for the company confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature was currently being tested on mobile devices. They emphasized that this means that there is a limited function at an early stage. In other words, you will not find the video carousel on all searches yet. But as Google scales the product, it can become an interesting tool for indexing and surfacing top video content from social media – unless, of course, the platforms choose to block Google from doing so.
The feature is currently available in a limited way in the Google mobile app and on the mobile network, the company said.