YouTube Tests its Next TikTok Mobile Rival

Photo by Evrim Aydin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The takeaways

  • YouTube is testing a new in-app mobile feature that lets users create and host videos composed of 15-second clips.
  • A select group of content creators is currently testing the new functions and providing the company with feedback.
  • Like YouTube’s previously announced ‘Shorts’, the new tool takes influence from popular Chinese social network app TikTok.

What happened?

YouTube announced on Wednesday that it’s launched tests on a new mobile feature allowing users to record 15-second long videos with multiple elements. Mobile users can now view an option to “create a video” in the app’s upload features. The video duration and the ability to combine clips into a single video directly echoes TikTok’s interface, as well as Instagram’s recently launched Reels, which also features similarities to TikTok.

Like Facebook and Instagram, YouTube has previously adapted Snapchat’s most popular feature via its Stories video sharing function. Where the new feature differs is that the multi-segment videos can be uploaded to and hosted on users’ channels, rather than disappearing after 24 hours. Users recording videos over 15 seconds will now need to do so on their devices for uploading to YouTube, rather than within the app itself. 

A small number of creators are currently testing the feature on both iOS and Android. No other details on the test have been given so far, including how to search for videos created through the new function.

Taking on TikTok

Due in part to Snapchat and its adoption by its competitors, a precedent for short-form video content has been firmly established on social media platforms. TikTok, however, has distinguished itself by focusing on short videos that creators have already pre-prepared. Like YouTube, it also encourages a strong focus on music.

In April, YouTube previously announced its ‘Shorts’ in-app function as a rival to TikTok. With access to YouTube’s music library as background music for user videos, Shorts was reported to go live towards the end of this year. Though no further news on Shorts has been released, whether in relation to its development timeframe or the current tests, YouTube has clarified that they are currently running various tests on short-form video tools. The company considers its feature rollouts based on the feedback it receives from such experiments.

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