ByteDance-owned Douyin , the sister app of TikTok , plans to increase investment in its search capabilities to enable users to navigate through a rising sea of short videos, an initiative that could change the way internet users find information online and rival advances made by Google over the years. The strategy was revealed by ByteDance chief executive Zhang Nan, who also heads Douyin, in an online post on Wednesday, which indicated that the platform’s search feature already has 550 million monthly active users. The app’s daily active users surpassed 600 million as of August last year . “Many people have grown used to opening Douyin and searching for videos when they have questions,” wrote Zhang in her post on ByteDance’s news aggregator app Toutiao . The hope is that Douyin could become an “encyclopaedia of human civilisation”, so that video search would be how people increasingly look for answers and gain new knowledge, she said. People looking for cooking recipes, for example, can search for cooking videos posted by content creators on Douyin. The platform can also help people search for video tutorials about dancing and musical instruments. Douyin search users who are looking for pregnancy tips, for example, will get videos posted by content creators who are medical professionals, according to promotional videos about the service. Apart from burnishing Douyin’s credentials in the short video-sharing app market, the sharpened focus on its search capabilities could help expand the platform’s advertising revenue. Tech unicorn ByteDance’s domestic business has been growing rapidly, driven by strong ad sales generated by its addictive content and entertainment apps led by Douyin and Toutiao. Last year, the Beijing-based company’s total revenue reached US$37 billion, according to an online report by The Information . Douyin’s move to further develop its video search capabilities comes amid people’s increased appetite for consuming and sharing videos online, according to Zhang Yi, chief executive and head analyst at iiMedia Research. He indicated that the vast amount of videos online has made it harder for people to find the specific information they want. ByteDance kicks off its payment service with cash giveaways during world’s most-watched TV show “[Search] will accelerate the growth of short video apps’ commercial value,” Zhang said. While Douyin currently does not aim to provide a general-use search engine, the platform’s latest move would help broaden its content ecosystem to include search ads and paid courses, he added. Ocean Engine, ByteDance’s marketing platform that helps businesses advertise their products on its various apps, featured Douyin as a search marketing tool in a handbook published last year. Zhang of iiMedia said there is still room for technical improvements in how Douyin and other companies in the market index video content. Douyin, China’s TikTok, says it created 36 million jobs last year This is not the first time that ByteDance has made a foray into China’s online search market. In 2019, it launched Toutiao Search , a web-based search engine that is optimised for mobile device users. Chinese internet search giant Baidu still led the market last year with a 70 per cent share, followed by Sogou with 10 per cent, according to a report by Beijing-based BigData-Research. It said Toutiao Search has not cracked the market’s top-five ranking, which has players with a combined 97.3 per cent share of the market.