ByteDance has just launched a new search portal, the Toutiao Search. The portal is integrated into Toutiao, the news aggregator owned by ByteDance. However, Toutiao Search is separate from the website’s own search function.
Toutiao Search offers results from the web. Unfortunately, the results are censored, which is a common practice for search engines in China.
If you search for less contentious topics like “restaurant” you will get a similar mix of web results and media from ByteDance apps. Therefore, the company is not only positioning itself as a competitor to Baidu – now holding 76% of the search engine market – but also helps ByteDance gain traffic to all of its platforms.
Last year, employees protested against the development of a censored search engine, just by the time Google was trying to enter the Chinese market.
ByteDance has already anchored people from other search companies, like Google, Baidu, Bing and made its first public announcement that it is building a “universal search engine” through a recruiting post published on ByteDance’s WeChat account, according to a report by Manish Singh for TechCrunch.