Google looks to acquire Firework, an application that allows users to create and share short format videos, reports The Wall Street Journal. The acquisition could help Google to compete with TikTok, a free short-form video app that has over 500 million monthly users worldwide.
Firework works similar to TikTok as it lets users create and uploaded a 30-second video. Unlike TikTok which is aimed at mostly teens, Firework targets old users. The app was created by former SnapChat and LinkedIn employees. Based in Redwood City, California, Firework was valued over $100 million in a fundraising round earlier this year. The company says that millions of users have downloaded the Firework app, which is available on both Android and iOS platforms.
Weibo, the platform dubbed as China’s Twitter, is also interested in acquiring Firework. However, Google is likely the frontrunner in acquiring Firework.
‘The growing popularity of TikTok’
The popularity of TikTok and the explosion of the social video space could be the reason why Google has shown interest in taking over Firework, Beijing-based ByteDance, which is valued at $75 billion late last year, is behind the viral app TikTok. The social app, launched in China as “Douyin” in September 2016, has become the first Chinese social media app that made big on a global scale.
With over 1 billion downloads, TikTok’s popularity is being seen as a threat to Google’s YouTube, which has 2 billion users. The popular short-video app is also giving tough competition to the social networking giant Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram. Last year, Facebook launched its own short-video sharing app Lasso that allows users to create fun and short videos designed to take over TikTok. However, the app couldn’t manage to stop TikTok’s growth in the US.
But the rising popularly of TikTok among the Generation-Z has also come with a number of controversies. In February, the popular social video platform was hit with a record $5.7 million fine for collecting the data for kids under 13 years. In India, where the app has 120 million users, TikTok was pulled from app stores in April over fears it was exposing teens to porn and sexual content. The ban was lifted after two weeks after ByteDance, the developer behind the social app, successfully appealed to the court ruling.