TikTok’s Comin’ for Your Location, Tests ‘Nearby’ Feed

TikTok’s Comin’ for Your Location, Tests ‘Nearby’ Feed

TikTok users may soon have access to a third section in their feed that would show local content, as the platform is experimenting with a third feed called “Nearby.”

The feature is currently being tested in Southeast Asia, and users who are part of the test will see this new tab beside the ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ page, a TikTok spokesperson told TechCrunch. The spokesperson also told TechCrunch that this new feed is also being tested with a feature that would allow users to tag locations in their videos, and that this feature is being gradually rolled out to all users.

Matt Navarra, a social media consultant, first reported this new feature on Twitter, with Navarra writing in his tweet “TikTok is playing catch-up with Snapchat’s Snap map and Instagram’s recently launched searchable photo map feature.” Like Snapchat and Instagram, this new feature would give users a new way to discover new local places. Though the new TikTok feature does not seem to actually include a map at this point. The feature actually in use was then spotted by another Twitter user. 

TikTok has already been competing with Google when it comes to searching for products or places to go. “In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search, they go to TikTok or Instagram,” said Prabhakar Raghavan, a Senior Vice President at Google at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech last month. This new feature has the potential to cut even more users from Google.

A feature based on location like this ‘Nearby’ feed would likely require users to share their location with TikTok, so you’d be likely to see popular restaurants, parks, hiking trails, etc. nearby.

But for those who don’t share their location with the app, it’s unknown how the feature would look for them, and TikTok has yet to respond to Gizmodo’s request for clarification on this. An important thing to note though, is that even when you have your location off, TikTok will still estimate your location based off of your network provider, system information, and IP address, according to its website. Continuing, the website also states that the IP address “generally only allows us to estimate the country, region, or city where you may be located.” This also depends on how you access TikTok. So maybe this nearby page would look similar to those that do not share their location.

TikTok is also currently developing a ‘Shop’ feed that would allow users to explore different products, though again, it’s not clear how this would appear on your feed. TechCrunch confirmed that this feed is currently being tested in Indonesia. And regarding the ‘Nearby’ feed being tested, TikTok told TechCrunch that the feed may change before an official launch or just be scrapped.

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