Google is testing a shortcut feature for TikTok and Instagram videos

Google is testing a shortcut feature for TikTok and Instagram videos
TikTok and Instagram videos may be directly available on Google soonUnsplash
  • Google ‘Short Videos’ carousel, which is currently still in its testing stages, has added TikTok and Instagram videos to its library.
  • Short Videos is currently restricted to a limited number of search queries, like Biryani and the Green Bay Packers.
  • Rather than having to open individual apps to watch short videos, Google’s new feature allows users to search for videos within Google mobile app and watch them on their phone’s default browser.

The supreme aggregator of the internet is living up to its name with plans to launch a carousel that will aggregate videos from TikTok and Instagram within Google’s mobile app — or Google Discover.

Rather than having to open individual apps to watch short videos, Google has been testing a new feature that will let you watch videos within the search results. Instagram and TikTok videos are the newest additions to the mix, Google spokesperson told TechCrunch even though the company has declined to formally comment on the plans.

Before you get too excited, the feature is only available for a limited number of search queries — like the Green Bay Packers as discovered by Brian Freisleben or Biryani as Saad AK noted on Twitter.
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It’s also unlikely to turn into a way for users in India to undercut the government’s TikTok ban. But it could prove useful to find alternative sources of short videos without having to download individual apps and test them out.

For Google, it will allow the company to capitalise on the mass popularity of these videos without having to create its own content. It will also help the technology giant retain users who are looking for entertainment by giving them options within its own app.

Google’s short videos
The ‘Short Videos’ carousel was first spotted within Google Discover in August, earlier this year. Usually, the feed consists of articles that match a user's interests. At times, it may also feature YouTube videos, the weather or cricket scores.

Before TikTok and Instagram were added to the mix, Google was seen featuring content from Google’s Area 120 project Tangi and India’s homegrown app Trell.

According to 9to5Google, users are able to play these short videos within the default web browser — even if the user has the native app installed — with options to mute, share and navigate.

The Short Videos carousel is different from another product that Google is working on, YouTube’s ‘Shorts’. However, the carousel may serve as a way for the company to feature short videos from its new service once it’s live.

Short Videos is also different from Google Stories, which rolled out in October. Stories consist of short video content that is created by Google’s online publishing partners like Forbes, Vice and others.

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