Google is reportedly testing a new mobile search feature that would surface TikTok and Instagram videos in their own dedicated carousel — the search giant’s apparent answer to a growing appetite for short-form video content.
The new feature will expand upon a test feature launched by Google earlier this year that nested a carousel of “Short Videos” within the personalised Google Discover tab. While the original version of the feature had focused on aggregating video from Google-owned platforms like YouTube and the short-form video project Tangi, Instagram and TikTok content will reportedly be included in the update.
The move is likely designed to help Google retain users who just want to let their eyes glaze over and watch a cat in pajama pants for a few minutes as an excuse to stop feeling anything for a while — ie. everyone. To wit, when a user clicks on a short video in the carousel, they will be directed to a web version of its native platform rather than being transported to its corresponding app — meaning that users will be more likely to hit the back button and return to Google than they will be to fall into an endless scroll-hole.
A Google spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature is currently being tested on mobile devices, but said that the carousel is still in its early stages and does not yet appear alongside every search query.
The new “Short Videos” carousel is still entirely separate from the “Stories” feature that Google unveiled for its Search app for iOS and Android in October 2020. Previously known as “AMP Stories,” the Stories are comprised of content compiled by a short list of Google’s digital publishing partners, which includes Forbes, USA Today, Vice, Now This, Bustle, Thrillist and others.