Google profiles Gen Z’s online habits

Together with

The Future. Google-subsidiary Jigsaw put Gen Z — the first generation to be raised with the internet — under the microscope to see how they interact with information online and found that the cohort mainly views digital engagement as a means of socializing with others. Everything is essentially entertainment. The insights could force news publishers, civic organizations, and entertainment companies to revamp how they share content.

Generational study
Jigsaw set out to understand the online “information literacy” of Gen Z… and realized that the generation doesn’t really care about that idea.

  • The generation seemingly doesn’t engage with content in a deep way, such as ensuring that stories are accurate or determining whether something is real or AI-generated.
  • Instead, the generation ingests content through “information sensibility” — just reading headlines and looking for what feels credible based on feedback from influencer curation, friends in group chats, and public consensus in the comments.
  • That’s because most Gen Zers spend their time online in what the researchers call “timepass mode” — scrolling to avoid boredom, relying on their personalized algorithm to serve them only what is entertaining and essential.
  • All of this content, comment, and curation engagement is ultimately intended to help with social interaction and determine the right take to have on any given subject.

Jigsaw, which came to the conclusions after several in-depth interviews with a diverse set of 13 to 24 year olds, has a major stake in knowing how Gen Z interacts online. The company makes software called Perspective that outlets like NYT use to moderate their comment sections.

The newest iteration of the tool allegedly brings comments flagged as being able to build bridges between readers to the top of thread… hoping they capture the attention of Gen Z.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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