The company has revised its revenue target for 2019, in a range from 120 billion yuan ($ 16.8 billion) from a previous target set at the end of last year of 100 billion yuan
Douyin, a popular Chinese short video app known as TikTok outside of China, has introduced a reverse image search tool that allows some users to find in-video products such as clothing, which they can then purchase directly from within the app.
The move could help ByteDance, owner of Douyin, take advantage of the growing popularity of the video app, which has accumulated 320 million active users every day in July. The Beijing-based company has just revised its revenue target for 2019, in a range from 120 billion yuan ($ 16.8 billion) from a previous target set at the end of last year of 100 billion yuan, according to Reuters.
The function is only available for users selected on the Chinese version
The new function was identified by Chinese technology analyst Matthew Brennan, who showed the Twitter search tool for the first time last week. While watching a video clip of Chinese comedian Xiao Shenyang, other celebrity videos appeared after clicking on the circle icon on the right side of the screen. While Brennan moved the research area on Xiao’s trousers, similar apparel products appeared that could be purchased directly by users.
ByteDance has not commented on the news, but the description on the app page said that the reverse search function can be used to find other celebrity videos or videos of similar pets, based on still images, suggesting that the company is collecting identifiable data from its content that could potentially be used to generate advertising revenue.
The function is only available for users selected on the Chinese version of the app and it is not clear whether Douyin will make it available in the foreign market in the future. It is also not clear whether the platform is scanning videos that Douyin users have labelled as private.
Other companies have also used this technology, attracting however several criticisms on the privacy front
Supported by artificial intelligence algorithms, the technology behind the reverse image search is not new. The Google search engine offers the feature, but has raised privacy concerns, especially in the era of deepfakes.
In August, the Zao face exchange app, supported by Chinese social media developer Momo, became viral on social media but immediately sparked controversy over privacy issues. The growing concern for privacy related to facial recognition has led to Facebook’s decision to discontinue an automatic photo tagging option, according to Reuters.