Bytedance is gradually opening up access to its recommendation algorithm used in apps such as short video platform Douyin and content aggregator Jinri Toutiao to external companies, media outlet TechPlanet reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: Bytedance has been shifting into business-facing services as growth from its customer-facing business slows down amid intensifying competition.

  • Bytedance formally launched its enterprise messaging and productivity tool Lark in April.

Details: Bytedance has been training internal departments on the use of the recommendation algorithm, “ByteAir.”

  • ByteAir has been available to some businesses since last year, but this is the first time that Bytedance packaged the recommendation algorithm as a solution to its different lines of products and external partners.
  • The algorithm can use big data and machine learning, as well as Bytedance’s experience in news, livestreaming, social, and e-commerce, to create customized recommendation services for Bytedance’s partners, according to the ByteAir website.
  • Bytedance requires three categories of user data to create custom ByteAir recommendation algorithms: user data, item data, and behavioral data.
  • ByteAir said it has accumulated more than 16 Petabytes of data and receives more than 600 billion user requests each day.
  • The recommendation algorithm is already being used by companies such as Meizu, Oppo, and Samsung, the TechPlanet report says.
  • ByteAir was built by the algorithm team lead by Bytedance’s deputy chief technology officer Yang Zhenyuan.

Context: Bytedance has been actively building a suite of productivity products.

  • In addition to transforming its internal communication tool Lark into a product, Bytedance also acquired productivity tool Mubu in 2018 and led a series B for Google Doc lookalike Shimo Docs in 2017.

Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail:

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