Gen Z Uses TikTok Like Google, Upsetting the Old Internet Order

Google is for search. TikTok is for entertainment. At least that’s how it used to be.

But for the rising generation of teens and young adults, TikTok is becoming the place to find information, taking on the functions of established internet giants. The service, which boasts more than a billion users, is more than just an app where 10-to-25-year-olds watch video clips, and the older guard is taking notice.

TikTok’s sales are forecast to triple to $12 billion this year, according to EMarketer -- paltry next to Google and Facebook, but big for a 5-year-old company. A third of its users are members of Gen Z, who number 67 million in the U.S. alone. That demographic is still forming shopping habits, making them crucial prospects for advertisers and technology companies. The younger users’ affinity for an upstart is also offering tech companies a counterpoint to critics who say they violate antitrust law.