🥵 Google’s got competish - The Hustle
The Hustle

🥵 Google’s got competish

Plus: First date stories, a bill-splitting app, Amazon drones, and more.

Last week, we asked you about online dating. The four most common words you responded with were “frustrating,” “exhausting,” “depressing,” and “fun.” Find more findings (plus, funny date stories) below.

In today’s email:

  • TikTok: Google’s got competish.
  • Chart: Amazon’s drones are coming.
  • Lofi Girl: She’s back, but copyright drama remains.
  • Around the web: An app for splitting bills, what makes a fair workplace, fun supercuts, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s quick podcast to hear Jacob and Rob discuss TikTok’s rise as an unlikely challenger to Google Search, drones delivering rotisserie chicken, Netflix’s earnings, and more.

The big idea

Why it matters that TikTok is rivaling Google Search

Prabhakar Raghavan just dropped one helluva doozy.

At a conference last week in Colorado, the Google SVP revealed that “almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

Here’s why that’s happening

When you search Google for a “cool bar in Boston,” for instance, you’re greeted with 125m results.

On TikTok, the same search will return quick, fun clips of Boston bars. What would you rather: 125m results, or a catchy 12-second video?

This may look bad for Google, but…

… here’s why Raghavan should be sleeping well at night.

  • Google faces a lot of antitrust scrutiny. The 40% stat will fit nicely alongside Google’s other defenses, like that “55% of people… start product searches on Amazon, not Google.”
  • Raghavan also has YouTube Shorts — Google’s TikTok clone with 1.5B viewers — that he could incorporate into Search.

Google has already worked on deals to index Instagram and TikTok clips. Between those and Shorts, you can expect parts of the Search experience to look more like TikTok in the future.

What’s this all mean for TikTok?

More scrutiny, probably. TikTok’s parent company is Chinese. Recently obtained audio recordings confirmed Chinese management effectively have unfettered access to US user data.

  • Despite this, users are spending more time on TikTok than Instagram and Facebook combined, or 91 minutes per day for the average US kid.

It doesn’t take a genius to see why US officials are concerned about a Chinese company’s grip on an algorithm that owns so much of our time.

Now, with TikTok rising as a search engine of choice, things could get even more interesting.


Budding IPO: Shein, China’s $100B fast-fashion giant, said it hopes to go public in the US as soon as 2024. The company has been under scrutiny for its hand in environmental issues and harsh worker conditions.

Timeline 2.0: Twitter is experimenting with a new custom timeline feature that lets users follow topic-specific timelines that include tweets and other media. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first timeline is about “The Bachelorette.”

New venture: Christie’s, the prominent auction house, announced it’s branching into tech investing. The company launched an in-house VC arm called Christie’s Ventures, which will focus on art and crypto startups.

Fire up the jets: Delta agreed to purchase 100 Boeing 737 MAX planes, with an option to purchase 30 more. The deal is worth ~$13.5B before discounts, and offers a vote of confidence in Boeing’s model, which underwent a two-year grounding after two fatal crashes.

Snap introduced Snap for Web, which lets users send snaps and chat with friends from their desktop. The feature will be available to Snapchat+ subscribers before rolling out to all users.

Prime redesign: Amazon launched a big redesign for Prime Video, including new navigation, a top 10 list, and a new interface. The platform, known for having a clunkier UI than other streamers, now fits in with Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+.

Founder’s wallet: Ever wish you could look under a startup’s hood to see how a founder makes and spends their money? Stop wishing — we got the inside scoop on revenue, expenses, and more from a luxury fashion entrepreneur.


Singdhi Sokpo

Amazon is rolling out the delivery drones

In 2015, Amazon released a clip showing how it planned to deliver packages via drone.

Seven years later, drone delivery still feels like pie-in-the-sky. But that could change soon.

After announcing a pilot in Lockeford, California, for later this year, Amazon named its second test location — College Station, Texas (AKA Aggie country).

So how will it work?

Amazon will partner with Texas A&M University on the effort, and shoppers in the area will get free drone delivery on thousands of items, per CNBC.

To its credit, Walmart has been making deliveries by drone to select regions for some time, with plans to cover 4m households by year-end.

Videos of these deliveries are pretty entertaining:

Despite progress on its drone efforts…

Amazon has experienced some setbacks — including a crash that created a 20-acre brush fire in Oregon.

Further, it’s unclear if people actually want drone deliveries.

Lockeford residents have voiced concerns over privacy, and one even joked that he would use the drones for “target practice.”

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Lofi Girl vs. YouTube’s copyright problem

Lofi Girl streams the chillest beats, but some very unchill YouTube drama exposed an ongoing copyright issue on the platform.

Lofi Girl is a 24/7 music stream specializing in lo-fi hip-hop beats. The channel and its eponymous character — a girl studying with her cat — has grown to 10.9m subscribers.

Then, she disappeared.

Earlier this month, YouTube removed Lofi Girl after receiving what turned out to be a bogus copyright report. YouTube later acknowledged the takedown claim was “abusive” and reinstated the channel.

But what’s an ‘abusive’ claim?

YouTube has three ways to deal with copyright infringement:

  • Content ID, an automated system that supports big businesses with exclusive rights to media (e.g., music labels, movie studios)
  • Copyright Match Tool, which creators can use to automatically identify potential matches of their videos
  • A public web form, which anyone can use to submit a claim

Per YouTube, YouTube’s Content ID system was responsible for over 99% of all copyright actions taken in the first half of 2021, less than 1% of which were disputed.

But some bad actors use the public web form to file bogus copyright claims to extort or harass artists.

  • YouTube says the potential for web form abuse is a whopping 30x higher than its other tools.

For artists who lack Lofi Girl’s huge following, disputing a bunch of bogus claims can really suck.

What can be done?

James Grimmelmann, a law professor at Cornell University, told NPR that Congress would likely have to change copyright laws, as current ones incentivize removing content versus carefully vetting each claim.

For now, YouTube encourages uploaders who feel they’ve been wrongfully dinged to file a dispute.


🔍 On this day: In 1799, the Rosetta stone was likely (there’s some debate about the date) discovered by a French soldier ~35 miles from Alexandria, Egypt. The stone made it possible to decipher hieroglyphics.

💰 Useful: Tandem is a forthcoming app that makes it easier to split monthly bills with a partner. It will first roll out to 10k Apple users this August. Join the waitlist here.

🧑‍💼 That’s interesting: Just 18% of surveyed employees said they worked in a high-fairness environment in 2021. Harvard Business Review examines the four elements of a fair workplace experience.

📹 Haha: Supercut collects montages of every instance of something in a film or TV show. For example, every “dude” in Dude, Where’s My Car?

🦋 Aww: A dog mesmerized by butterflies.

Survey Results

Singdhi Sokpo

Some of our favorite dating stories came from:

  • Shannon in Minnesota: “I went out with a guy from a dating app who talked about trains for a full 45 minutes before asking me a non-train related question.”
  • Mike in New Jersey: “I was late to the first date because NPR was doing a thing on “South Park,” so I sat in my car for a bit. Turns out she did the same thing. We’re married eight years now.”

Have an idea for a survey? Let us know.

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Jennifer “Lofi Girl in a hifi world” Wang.

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