YouTube 's new short-form video service, YouTube Shorts, will soon be available in over 100 countries after being trialed in selected markets. It has been developed as a competitor for the popular TikTok platform and was first released in India for beta testing earlier this year where its uptake tripled over several months. YouTube is essentially playing catch-up with its popular TikTok competitor but also aims to integrate its Shorts offering with the wider YouTube platform as a key method for attracting new users and expanding its reach.
The YouTube Shorts service provides functions for producing short video content that are very similar to its TikTok competitor. It allows users to record, edit and share video content that can be up to 60 seconds in length and also allows popular music to be included. Users have access to a range of tools that allow them to start and stop recording with a single tap with the service offering a small number of editing features. These include controls that allow the audio to be sped up or slowed down, a countdown timer, the ability to insert text overlays at chosen points and the ability to adjust colors.
While YouTube shorts offers a convenient tool for choosing music to be used in the video it does not have the automatic sound synchronization feature of TikTok which made the app more accessible and popular with first-time users. In addition, YouTube's offering lacks the wide catalog of special effects that TikTok offers - such as augmented reality functions and the ability to use a green-screen. YouTube Shorts, like Instagram Reels and other competitors, are seeking to make the features of TikTok available to users that want to create and publish short video content on their social media platforms.
While YouTube is playing catch-up with its popular TikTok competitor and is emulating its format, TikTok has begun to experiment with longer length video content and recently tripled its maximum video length and has released apps for TV platforms including Fire TV and Android TV. YouTube, in turn, wants to integrate the Shorts service with the wider YouTube eco-system as a further selling point for its platform. Recently, for example, it added a feature that allows Shorts users to sample audio from existing YouTube videos and is exploring other methods that offer links from Shorts videos to the YouTube videos that have been sampled.
YouTube Shorts has been made available to all US-based users and is now rolling out globally to over 100 countries (having already been available in 26 countries including the United Kingdom) and, although still in beta, is expected to be complete by the end of the month.
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