Briefing: Bytedance launches external search in Jinri Toutiao, creeps into Baidu territory

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字节跳动上线了搜索业务,不再满足于做内容分发平台 – Jiemian

What happened: Media giant Bytedance has updated the search function in its content aggregator Jinri Toutiao, enabling users to access content outside the app with the built-in search bar, media outlet Jiemian reported. The new feature is an extension of the company’s “information creates value” slogan, Bytedance said. Jinri Toutiao marks search results from external websites with a “external” sign next to the name of the website. In-app searches have been available in Jinri Toutiao since Jan. 16.

Why it’s important: The new search feature puts parent company Bytedance in direct competition with Baidu, which dominated the Chinese search engine landscape since Google’s exit in 2010. With Baidu facing consumer criticism and a deteriorating brand image for promoting low-quality content, Jinri Toutiao could prove to be a strong challenger. Though it is still in the testing phase, the new search function could leverage user data Bytedance has at hand and help the company further monetize Jinri Toutiao’s traffic by redirecting users to sponsored results in the app.