YouTube unveils Shorts, its answer to TikTok videosby Jon Fingas
- YouTube has launched a beta of Shorts, a way to create and share TikTok-like short video clips.
- The feature lets you add music and tweak video speeds.
- It’s part of the YouTube app in India for now, with more countries in the months ahead.
YouTube is joining the ranks of internet giants competing with TikTok. The company has unveiled a beta for YouTube Shorts, a “short-form video experience” that’s clearly meant to challenge TikTok’s app by mimicking some of its key features.
The YouTube Shorts beta limits videos to 15 seconds versus 60 for TikTok, but will otherwise seem eerily familiar. You can add music from a “large library,” adjust the speed, string together multiple clips and set a countdown or timer to perfect your footage.
It’ll be recognizable if you’re a viewer, too. As of today, there’s a TikTok-like “watch experience” for short videos that lets you swipe vertically to browse them, and will “make it even easier” to watch Shorts.
The Shorts beta is available in the YouTube app only for India at the moment, but will reach other countries in the “coming months.” You can also expect feature additions over that time.
It’s not surprising that YouTube would jump into the fray. TikTok recently revealed that it has about 50 million daily active users in the US alone, and 100 million who use it at least once a month. There were nearly 700 million active users per month worldwide as of July. Shorts could help YouTube fend off TikTok and keep you glued to its apps.
The timing is also apt. With TikTok getting a lifeline from Oracle to possibly avert a US ban, YouTube will be joining the short-form video crowd right as its main rival’s future is uncertain. It’s not necessarily counting on a flood of converts, but it might hope to pick up users worried that TikTok won’t last forever.