YouTube Launching "Shorts" to Compete with TikTok and Reels


Despite taking longer than expected, YouTube is set to launch its TikTok competitor and equivalent, YouTube shorts. The short-form video functionality directly competes with TikTok and somewhat resembles Instagram Reels. YouTube is likely doing this anticipating that it will drive some attention away from the already popular TikTok and back to YouTube.

Initial reports of YouTube venturing into such short-form video creation tools appeared months ago. The YouTube launch of Shorts has begun rolling out the version starting in India. Just like TikTok's feature, YouTube Shorts allows YouTube users to make short videos, approximately 15 seconds with/without music. Those who prefer having their short videos with music can select it from a music picker, which currently has up to 100,000 tracks. YouTube is also working with more music artists, publishers, and labels to continuously add more music content to the catalog.

YouTube Shorts videos will display in a dedicated Shorts row on the homepage. To encourage more people to use this feature, YouTube will include a prominent "Create" icon on the app. The version will be rolled out as Shorts beta on Android phones, with plans to integrate into iOS versions being underway.

YouTube Shorts features a plethora of tools that make it easy to edit the videos on mobile devices. Among the intriguing tools is the multi-segment camera, allowing users to put together separate clips with a countdown timer for recording. That said, with more than 2 billion monthly users, YouTube aims at providing more space for content creators to grow their community with Shorts.

Why YouTube is starting with India

As mentioned, YouTube launching Shorts has started rolling out the beta version in India before rolling out to everyone else in the coming months. This comes at a time when the Indian Government announced a ban on Chinese apps, TikTok included. As such, it appears logical that YouTube is looking to fill the gap left by TikTok in the Indian market before expanding to other countries.

Before this, TikTok and YouTube have been leading video applications in India. Earlier in the year, there was even a public battle between top YouTube and TikTok stars. Before the ban, TikTok had 200 million Indian users, with YouTube claiming more than 265 million active users based in India.

Many anticipated that YouTube would expedite Shorts' release after the ban on TikTok to take up the Indian market. However, Instagram beat YouTube, releasing its Reels version just a week after the Government banned TikTok. Now, Instagram only commands approximately 100 million active users; therefore, could not fully take up TikTok's position. The response to Reels on the Indian market wasn't also very positive. However YouTube is already popular in India, so the response is anticipated to be much better.

How to Use YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts is pretty close to a clone of TikTok. As such, it has similar uses and functionality. iOS YouTube users with access to the Shorts camera can start creating videos by clicking the + icon and selecting "video." Android users, on the other hand, can use the "create" icon, which is at the bottom of the navigation bar.

Apart from the create button, YouTube also features a better viewing experience. Users can swipe vertically to watch the next video. It also has a discovery panel that highlights Shorts video content and provides better exposure for creators. While YouTube is currently only launching the feature in India, users in other countries can also participate. Creators worldwide can upload and tag short videos under 60 seconds, with #shorts in the title or description of the video. These videos also have a chance to be featured on the homepage.

As YouTube users around the world anticipate the launch and rollout of Shorts, the success of this feature relies on many factors. This may be the best way YouTube can hold their position on social media. Having an additional feature like Shorts helps prevent users from opting for rival apps. For businesses, it’s important to keep up on what is coming and what is happening in the digital space so your business can be aware of and use the most relevant tools to help you connect with your audience.

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