TikTok is testing AI-generated search results

TikTok is testing a more robust search results page, including using generative AI. The feature appears to be a new and is called “search highlights.”

A snippet of AI results appear at the top of some search results pages, and clicking into the section opens a new page with the full response. In quick tests, I was able to find AI results for queries about recipes or topics like “best laptops 2024.”

Clicking the result takes you to a full screen page.
Screenshot: TikTok

A page explaining the results says that the material is generated using ChatGPT, and that TikTok displays the content “when [the algorithm] finds them relevant to your search.” The feature appears to be limited so far: not all queries have AI answers.

The feature is called “AI Smart Search”
Screenshot: TikTok

There’s also a similar feature called “search highlights” that are not labeled as AI-generated. Those, too, show up at the top of search results, but it’s not clear where that information is coming from, like whether it’s summarizing videos or taken from someplace else. TikTok didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the features.

The video platform has steadily added more features to its in-app search. Last fall, TikTok began testing adding Google Search results to its in-app results page that essentially acted as a link back to Google. TikTok has also experimented with adding links to Wikipedia, IMDb, and other websites directly in the app’s search results page.

TikTok is trying to harness some of the habits its users — especially younger people — have developed on the app. Many younger users treat TikTok like a search engine, opting to look up restaurant or product recommendations in the app instead of using platforms like Google Search. And like Google, TikTok now seems to be leaning into AI results by including them above creator content.

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