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For Gen Z, TikTok Is the New Search Engine CommonLit Answers

  • 10th Grade
  • Lexile: 1280

Source: For Gen Z, TikTok Is the New Search Engine by Kalley Huang

Assessment Answers

What is the central idea of the text?TikTok is replacing Google as a way for young people to quickly find answers to their questions.
As it is used in paragraph 13, the word “relevant” shows that teenagers feel that the answers TikTok returns aremore helpful
How do paragraphs 17-19 contribute to the article?by introducing a downside of TikTok’s use as a search engine.
Why does the author quote Jayla Johnson in the article?to contrast the ways older and younger people search for information
How does the author support their claim that Google is concerned about TikTok’s increasing popularity as a search engine?The author supports their claim that Google is concerned about TikTok’s increasing popularity as a search engine by citing specific statements and actions from Google. Key points include:

Reference to a Google Executive’s Statement: The article quotes Prabhakar Raghavan, a Google senior vice president, who noted that a significant percentage of young people prefer to use TikTok or Instagram over Google Maps or Search for certain types of searches, like finding a place for lunch. This acknowledgment from a high-ranking Google executive indicates Google’s awareness of and concern about TikTok’s growing role in search.

Google’s Incorporation of Similar Features: The article mentions that Google has started to incorporate images and videos into its search results and has launched YouTube Shorts, a platform for sharing short videos akin to TikTok. These developments suggest that Google is responding to the competition posed by TikTok’s format and popularity.
These elements collectively support the claim that Google is not only aware of TikTok’s increasing role as a search engine but is also taking steps to adapt to the changing landscape of digital search preferences, particularly among younger users.

Discussion Answers

Are the ways that the teenagers use TikTok in the article more similar or different to the ways that you search for information? Explain.

  1. Personalization and Algorithmic Tailoring: Teenagers using TikTok for searches benefit from its algorithm that personalizes content based on their past interactions. This is somewhat different from traditional search engines like Google, which also personalize results but primarily rely on keyword matching and ranking algorithms that prioritize relevance and authority of content.
  2. Video-Based Content: The teenagers in the article are using a platform that primarily provides video-based content. This is a significant departure from traditional text-based search methods. Video content can offer a more engaging and sometimes more intuitive way to understand information, especially for topics where visual or demonstrative content is helpful.
  3. Social and Community Aspects: TikTok searches often involve a social element, where users can see content created by real people and gauge reactions through comments and likes. This contrasts with more conventional search engines where social interaction is not a core component of the search experience.
  4. Brevity and Conciseness: The nature of TikTok’s content, typically short videos, encourages brevity and getting to the point quickly. Traditional search methods often lead to more comprehensive and detailed information, which can be more time-consuming to digest.
  5. Crowdsourcing and Trend-Based Information: Teenagers on TikTok are often influenced by trends and crowdsourced opinions, which can offer a diverse range of perspectives but also may lack the depth and verification process found in traditional search engines.

How do companies like TikTok create change? How did Google create change when it was first developed? What do the changes that these companies have brought to the world show about how technology has changed the ways we live our lives?

Companies like TikTok and Google create change by introducing innovative technologies and platforms that reshape how we interact with information and with each other. The changes brought about by these companies highlight the significant impact of technology on modern life.


  1. Innovative Content Format: TikTok revolutionized content consumption with its short-form video format. This has changed how people consume media, making it more bite-sized, entertaining, and easily digestible.
  2. Algorithmic Personalization: TikTok’s algorithm customizes user feeds based on their interactions, making content discovery highly personalized and often addictive. This has changed expectations for content relevance and engagement across platforms.
  3. Social Media Trends and Virality: TikTok has become a major driver of online trends and viral content. It has a significant influence on pop culture, music, fashion, and more, shaping public opinion and trends at a global scale.
  4. Creator Economy: TikTok has contributed to the rise of the creator economy, empowering individuals to create content and monetize their influence, changing the landscape of digital entrepreneurship.


  1. Access to Information: When Google was first developed, it revolutionized access to information. Its efficient search algorithms made finding information on the internet much faster and more accurate, democratizing knowledge.
  2. Organizing the World’s Information: Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful has had profound impacts on education, business, and daily life.
  3. Introduction of SEO: Google’s search engine algorithms led to the creation of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), changing how content is created and marketed online.
  4. Diverse Technologies and Services: Beyond search, Google has developed a wide range of technologies, including Android OS, Google Maps, and cloud services, impacting various aspects of personal and professional life.

Impact on How We Live:

  1. Information Accessibility: Both companies have made information more accessible and digestible. Google provides broad access to information, while TikTok offers a more curated, personalized experience.
  2. Cultural Influence: They have a substantial influence on culture and trends. Google shapes how we find and interact with information, while TikTok influences social trends, entertainment, and even politics.
  3. Economic Impact: They have created new economies and job opportunities, from the digital marketing landscape shaped by Google to the creator economy fueled by TikTok.
  4. Communication and Interaction: These platforms have changed the way we communicate and interact, making digital engagement an integral part of daily life.

The changes brought by TikTok, Google, and similar tech companies demonstrate how technology continuously reshapes our access to information, social interactions, cultural norms, and economic opportunities, reflecting an ever-evolving digital landscape in our lives.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of Google and TikTok as search engines? Which do you prefer to use for the following purposes: learning new information, deciding where to go out to eat, researching for a paper, getting a recommendation for a new T.V. show?



  1. Comprehensive Information: Ideal for in-depth research and learning new information due to its vast database of web pages.
  2. Authoritative Sources: Often links to credible and authoritative sources, which is essential for academic research or papers.
  3. Advanced Search Capabilities: Offers detailed search options, including filters and scholarly articles, useful for specific queries.


  1. Information Overload: Can return an overwhelming number of results, some of which might not be relevant.
  2. Less Personalized: While personalized, it might not be as tailored to individual tastes as TikTok, especially for entertainment recommendations.

Best Uses:

  • Learning New Information: Excellent for diverse and detailed information.
  • Researching for a Paper: Ideal due to access to scholarly and authoritative sources.



  1. Engaging and Current Content: Great for getting recommendations for TV shows or current trends due to its user-generated content.
  2. Personalized Experience: Its algorithm tailors content to user preferences, which can be useful for finding places to eat or entertainment.
  3. Visual and Concise: Useful for quickly getting a feel for a place (like restaurants) through short, visual content.


  1. Lack of Depth: Not ideal for in-depth learning or academic research.
  2. Potential for Misinformation: As a platform with user-generated content, it may not always provide the most reliable or factual information.
  3. Echo Chamber Effect: The algorithm may reinforce existing preferences, limiting exposure to diverse viewpoints or information.

Best Uses:

  • Deciding Where to Go Out to Eat: Good for visual and recent reviews of restaurants.
  • Getting a Recommendation for a New TV Show: Suitable for popular and trending entertainment options.


  • For Learning New Information: Google is preferred for its comprehensive and authoritative sources.
  • For Deciding Where to Eat: TikTok can provide current, visual insights and personal experiences.
  • For Researching a Paper: Google is the go-to for its access to scholarly resources and in-depth information.
  • For TV Show Recommendations: TikTok could be more enjoyable for discovering what’s trending and popular.

Each platform has its unique strengths and is suited to different types of searches based on the user’s needs and the nature of the information sought.

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