YouTube is getting into the short-form, 15-second multi-clip video business with a new feature, according to an announcement from the platform. The feature, Shorts, will be launching an early beta in India “over the next few days” with more countries and features rolling out “in the coming months” based on feedback.
“User-generated short videos were born on YouTube starting with our first upload, a short 18-second video called ‘Me at the zoo,'” said Chris Jaffe, YouTube’s vice president of product management, in the announcement. “[YouTube Shorts is] a new short-form video experience right on YouTube for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones.”
This confirms reported rumors earlier this year from The Information that YouTube has been cooking up its answer to TikTok, the hugely popular video-sharing social app. It also means YouTube will be joining Facebook’s Instagram, who last month launched Reels with video-creation tools similar to TikTok. Reels, so far, has received a lukewarm reception. (Microsoft, similarly, has gotten a lukewarm reception from TikTok, who rejected the former’s recent takeover bid.)
Shorts will appear on the mobile app’s homepage in a dedicated row, and the feature will be featured prominently elsewhere in the app. Based on the announcement’s description, the new “create” icon will be difficult to miss. Similarly, YouTube is hoping Shorts that users create will be essential viewing, with the announcement explicitly mentioning the platform’s 2 billion monthly users and noting “we want to enable the next generation of mobile creators to also grow a community on YouTube with Shorts.”
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