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TikTok-parent is getting into mobile search

China’s ByteDance, which owns popular video sharing app TikTok, is already working to enter the smartphone business and the music streaming space. It appears the world’s most valued startup also has ambitions about developing its own search engine. Kind of.

A company spokesperson told TechCrunch on Thursday that it has introduced a search function in ByteDance’s Toutiao news app.

“The function is in line with Toutiao’s mission of ‘information creates value.’ Users can try the function in the app and provide feedback and suggestions on the new function,â€� the spokesperson said.

The search function gleans information from both content on Toutiao as well as the entire world wide web, TechCrunch understands.

From the looks of it, ByteDance’s current search functionality is more alike WeChat’s in-app search function than local giant Baidu’s or Google’s offering.

On WeChat, when a person looks up a keyword, they see news articles about that topic, followed by mentions of it from their friends. This is followed by random articles about the subject. When a user clicks on any of these article or news links, WeChat serves them the page through its in-app browser, giving them no option to leave the walled-garden.

The idea is to change the way people think about — and use — a search engine altogether. And in China, where apps such as WeChat and TikTok have gained gigantic reach on mobile, it seems logical to add all new functionalities within those apps.

ByteDance’s interest in a search engine became public on Wednesday after it published a recruitment post on its WeChat account. The startup said its “search engine� is aimed at “hundreds of millions of mobile users in China.�

“We will build a universal search engine with a better user experience from 0 to 1. Only you don’t want to search, there is no [info] you can’t find, because we can search the whole network,â€� the company said in the post.

According to the description in the listing, ByteDance has already hired people from other search engines such as Google, Baidu, Bing, and 360.

An analysis of LinkedIn listings by TechCrunch found more than 100 people from Google, Microsoft, and Baidu, many of whom worked around search divisions at the previous companies, have joined ByteDance in recent quarters.

ByteDance following Tencent’s WeChat model to create its alternate search business may add more worries to Baidu, which currently holds more than 75% of the search engine market in China, according to third-party web service StatCounter Global Stat. Microsoft’s Bing is also operational in the country though its market share remains in the low-single digits. Google currently does not offer its search feature in China — though it has attempted to change that in recent months to no luck.


Source: TechCrunch

Finally, a Robot That Moves Kind of Like a Tongue

Octopus arms and elephant trunks and human tongues move in a fascinating way, which has now inspired a fascinating new kind of robot.
Source: Wired

You'll Get Your Equifax Money. It Just Might Take a While

Despite the FTC pushing people away from an Equifax cash payout, there’s a good chance you’ll get all $125. Eventually.
Source: Wired

Sex tech startups protest outside Facebook over banning of ads – CNET

Dame Products and Unbound Babes say advertising on social media has sexist double standards.
Source: CNET

Apple trails Samsung, Huawei in global smartphone market, says Strategy Analytics – CNET

The iPhone nabs 11% of total market share in the second quarter of 2019, according to the research firm. Samsung’s take was twice that.
Source: CNET

Jakarta's Doomed Sea Wall, Russia Takes Aim at 2020, and More News From Today

Catch up on the most important news from today in two minutes or less.
Source: Wired

Amazon acquires flash-based cloud storage startup E8 Storage

Amazon has acquired Isreali storage tech startup E8 Storage, as first reported to Reuters, CNBC and Globes and confirmed by TechCrunch. The acquisition will bring the team and technology from E8 in to Amazon’s existing Amazon Web Services center in Tel Aviv, per reports.

E8 Storage’s particular focus was on building storage hardware that employs flash-based memory to deliver faster performance than competing offerings, according to its own claims. How exactly AWS intends to use the company’s talent or assets isn’t yet known, but it clearly lines up with their primary business.

AWS acquisitions this year include TSO Logic, a Vancouver-based startup that optimizes data center workload operating efficiency, and Israel-based CloudEndure, which provides data recovery services in the event of a disaster.


Source: TechCrunch

The Arctic is on fire, and these images from space show the choking smoke – CNET

Siberia is burning and the smoke is spreading beyond Russia.
Source: CNET

Winning Democratic debate memes: Bernie wrote the damn bill AND threw his hands up – CNET

Plus, there were “dark psychic forces” Tuesday night, courtesy of Marianne Williamson.
Source: CNET

Amazon may start fining sellers for using ridiculously huge boxes – CNET

The e-commerce giant wants to cut down on waste and shipping costs.
Source: CNET

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