- Since the fate of TikTok in the U.S. remains bleak, YouTube today announced the launch of a new short-form video experience called YouTube Shorts.
Since the fate of TikTok in the U.S. remains bleak, YouTube today announced the launch of a new short-form video experience called YouTube Shorts. The feature will allow users to upload 15-second or less short-form videos, initially in India, using a new collection of creator tools, including a multi-segment camera similar to TikTok, speed controls, and a timer and countdown function. Thanks to YouTube’s access to a vast catalog of songs that it claims will continue to expand over time, the videos can be set to music too.
The multi-segment camera lets users bring several video clips together in one short clip.
These are standard tools of today’s TikTok video recording experience and are the same features that Instagram recently cloned for its rival of TikTok, known as Reels.
The feature will be highlighted prominently in Android’s YouTube app and will extend to iOS in time.
YouTube says India — notably, a wide market already blocked by Chinese-owned TikTok — would be the first to gain access to YouTube Shorts at launch. The aim is to get the feature to more markets in time, though. But YouTube gave no timeframe when it will happen.
With this in mind, YouTube will launch a new watch interface that allows you to swipe vertically through YouTube Shorts — just like TikTok, too. The company has already added a new row for watching short videos on the YouTube homepage, and now the new watch experience will make it easier to access the content and discover new short videos too, YouTube says.
YouTube revealed its plans to start testing a short-form video application earlier this summer but hadn’t provided many specifics or even the name of the product. YouTube had said at the time that the test would include capturing 15-second videos on both iOS and Android but only among a limited number of creators.
YouTube Shorts will also feature hundreds of thousands of tracks from partners such as T-Series, Believe Streaming, and others. In the catalog of YouTube Videos, it also partners with music artists, labels, and publishers to make more of their material accessible.
The news of the bigger YouTube Shorts launch comes as the M&A deadline for the U.S. operations of TikTok comes to an end. Microsoft has now announced that it will not be the buyer, and sources say that Oracle is winning the sale, but it is not structuring the offer as an outright sell.
The imminent exit of TikTok had already seen several competing social networks trying to lure users of TikTok into their app. Instagram, Snapchat, and now YouTube are among those looking to gain an edge in releasing their short-form video products by exploiting the uncertainty around TikTok. More direct TikTok rivals have also picked up some new customers, including Triller, Dubsmash, Byte, and others.
YouTube said the new function would roll out over the next few days in India. It characterizes YouTube Shorts as a test from which it seeks to learn, to extend access, and develop the product over time.