Google is testing a new ‘Short videos’ feature that will aggregate short videos from Instagram and TikTok in a dedicated carousel on the Google mobile app. According to a TechCrunch report, the move will help the tech giant retain users who visit social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok in search of short videos.
A Google spokesperson confirmed to the website that the ‘Short video’ feature is being piloted on mobile devices, meaning the test is in its early stages and limited to a few users only.
“In other words, you won’t find the video carousel on every search query just yet. But over time, as Google scales the product, it could 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,” as per the report.
Earlier this year, Google introduced the “Short videos” carousel within its Discover tab and the new ‘Short videos’ test expands on the previous feature. For those unaware, Google Discover lets users discover useful and relevant information from across the web, suited to their interests.
Google’s ‘Short videos’ feature was previously focussed on aggregating videos from Trell, and Google’s own Tangi and YouTube. However, the new test also includes TikTok and Instagram videos as well. This was first spotted by Search Engine Roundtable (via Brian Freiesleben’s tweet). The website posted a screenshot of the carousel that had two videos from TikTok and one from Instagram.
Google’s Tangi, which was launched earlier this year, is a short video platform that hosts short videos, mainly to help people learn creative skills like cooking, baking, painting, etc. Meanwhile, YouTube is also experimenting with the idea of short videos as it released an early beta of YouTube Shorts in India in September 2020. It lets users upload videos of 15 seconds or less.
Interestingly, clicking on one of the short videos takes users to the web version of the social media platform and not the app, even if the app is installed on the user’s device. Clearly, Google wants users to come back to its search results page after they’re done watching the video.