YouTube has a new TikTok rival to offer: YouTube Shorts! The online video platform has just announced that it will test a beta version of its new feature in India. Similarly to TikTok videos, or more recently to Instagram’s Reels, YouTube Shorts will be 15 seconds long maximum and will be easily editable using YouTube’s new creator tools.
After India banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps in June as border tensions rose between the two countries, TikTok lost its biggest foreign market, which had an estimated 120 million users. Like many other companies and social media platforms, YouTube saw this as the perfect opportunity to test its own copy of TikTok. This means that YouTube will also be in competition with a number of local competitors who have rushed in to try and fill the void left by TikTok’s ban in India.
YouTube’s vice president of product management Chris Jaffe shared in a blog post that YouTube Shorts is “for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones.” Sounds familiar, right?
The new platform features a multi-segment camera to string multiple video clips together, speed controls, with a timer and countdown to record hands-free. Shorts also gives users the option to record using music as well as access to a library of songs. Again, this sounds exactly like TikTok.
Jaffe added that Shorts would be expanded to other markets as the product becomes more refined and new features get added. This new product release comes as Oracle just confirmed that TikTok’s owner ByteDance has formally proposed becoming a “trusted technology partner” in the US.
The aim of this deal is to avoid President Trump’s threat to ban the app in the US over national security concerns, which were exactly India’s government concerns when it banned TikTok in June.