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.
Chinese TikTok now has in-video search. Search someone's face to find more videos of them. Search in-video products or clothes and buy directly #抖音 pic.twitter.com/RBcIqnOBgN— Matthew Brennan (@mbrennanchina) September 23, 2019
Chinese TikTok now has in-video search. Search someone's face to find more videos of them. Search in-video products or clothes and buy directly #抖音 pic.twitter.com/RBcIqnOBgN
— 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.
How Douyin (TikTok) Became the Most Popular App in the World
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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