TikTok’s content selection could get a lot more personal, with the ByteDance admin supplementing the default “For You” feed with a new “Nearby” option that selects only clips uploaded by users in or around your city.
The new feature is being tested for now with a small group of users in Southeast Asia, provided they have granted the app permission to access their location coordinates.
The plan is to deliver users not only interesting clips to watch, selected by TikTok algorithms based on preferences observed so far, but also really useful content, helping them discover interesting events and locations nearby. For example, if there’s a party going on in your city where attendees are live on TikTok or sharing videos, you could discover that content in Nearby Feed even if those people aren’t on your friends list and you haven’t been “identified” by the platform’s algorithms as being interested in the event.
This will provide users with three separate content feeds: For You, the Following feed with content distributed by contacts you follow, and the Nearby feed, the equivalent of the Explore section offered by YouTube.
For now, it’s unclear how long it might take before the new content feed is available to all TikTok users, but the administrator of ByteDance seems determined to catch up with rival Snapchat, which already offers a similar feature for its users.
Interestingly, one of Google’s executives also admitted that more and more users are using TikTok to find new places, which has an impact on Google searches as well. For example, you can search for videos of a restaurant directly on TikTok instead of searching for information about it on Google.