Google Considers Buying TikTok Rival

Google is weighing an acquisition of a social video-sharing app to rival China’s TikTok, the latest tech sensation among teens, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Google is looking into Firework, a California-based, free app that lets users share 30-second videos and aims to surface viral content like TikTok does. Firework’s audience is reportedly older than TikTok’s largely adolescent user base.

Firework’s funding round earlier this year valued the startup at more than $100 million. Google and Firework have not yet discussed terms, but the acquisition would likely be a blockbuster deal.

TikTok could be seen as a competitor for YouTube, the video platform owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet. TikTok is typically seen as a greater threat to Facebook in the social category, and the social giant is testing a copycat app of its own to crush the insurgent. But more time on TikTok could also mean less time on YouTube in a tight attention economy, and TikTok’s fervent teen users apparently have Google concerned enough to spark a potential Firework deal.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He joined Street Fight as a contributing writer in 2015, has compiled the daily newsletter since 2016, and has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Follow him on Twitter @joe_zappa, and shoot him an email at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.
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