Google has tested a new feature that will feature Instagram and TikTok videos in its own dedicated circle in the Google mobile app – and the move could help the company keep users looking for social video entertainment from leaving the Google platform entirely.
The same feature expands from a test extension launched earlier this year.
Google for the first time introduced a set of “short videos” within Google Discover – the custom feed found in the Google mobile app and to the left of the home screen on some Android devices.
This “short videos” library differs from Google Stories, which was released in October 2020 for the Google search app for iOS and Android.
These “stories” – previously known as “AMP stories” – consist of short video content created by Google’s online publishing partners such as Forbes, USA Today, and others.
At the time, the “short videos” circuit focused on aggregating social videos from other platforms such as TikTok and its Indian rival Trell, including Google’s Tangi short video project, as well as Google’s video platform, YouTube.
The expansion was first reported by Search Engine Roundtable (via Brian Freiesleben’s tweet) to include Instagram and TikTok content in this carousel.
You can access the feature by searching for “packages” in the Google app and then scrolling to the bottom.
Scrolling through the Google Knowledge Base box for Green Bay Packers we found the library of short videos appearing, followed by results, top news, Twitter results, best results, photos, videos, and the rest of the other content.
When you click on the short videos from Instagram and TikTok, you are taken to the web 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 remain on Google, as all it takes is to click the back arrow to return to search results after watching the video.
Google has been indexing video content for years and partnered with Twitter in 2015 to index search results.
However, it is not clear to what extent any formal relationship it has with Facebook / Instagram or TikTok.
A company spokesperson confirmed that the feature is currently in trial on mobile devices. This means that it is a limited feature at an early stage. In other words, you won’t find the video library in every query yet. But over time, as Google expands the product range, it could become an interesting tool for indexing and visibility of the best video content from social media – unless, of course, the platforms choose to stop Google from doing so.
The company said the feature is currently available in a limited way on the Google mobile app and on the web.
At the same time, Google declined to comment officially or provide more details about its plans.