Google Launches Its Answer To TikTok: YouTube Shorts

As TikTok faces bans in many countries and a pending sale in the U.S., companies are launching short-form video content to compete.

Google is the latest to test this huge market.

What Happened: Alphabet Inc's GOOG YouTube division has announced the beta launch of YouTube Shorts in India. Chris Jaffe, the vice president of product management at YouTube, announced the launch in a blog post.

Jaffe calls YouTube Shorts a “new short-form video experience for creators and artists who want to shoot short catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones.”

Jaffe credits YouTube as the birthplace of user-generated short videos, as the company’s first upload was an 18-second video called “Me at the Zoo.”

YouTube Shorts videos will be 15 seconds or less. Among the features in the initial launch are a the ability to add music from a large library of songs, a multi-segment camera, speed controls and the ability to record hands-free with a timer and countdown.

YouTube Shorts will launch in India, with plans to add more features and expand to more countries in the coming months.

Why It’s Important: “Every month, 2 billion viewers come to YouTube to laugh, learn, and connect. Creators have built entire businesses on YouTube, and we want to enable the next generation of mobile creators to also grow a community on YouTube with Shorts,” Jaffe said.

The 2 billion YouTube users represent around one-third of the internet. YouTube on mobile reaches more people in the 18-34 demographic than any TV network in the U.S.

YouTube is available in 100 countries and 80 languages. More than 1 billion hours of video are watched daily across YouTube.

YouTube has close to 400 million users in India and rivals Facebook’s WhatsApp for the title of the most popular smart phone app in the country.

TikTok has said India is its biggest market outside of China. TikTok was one of several Chinese apps banned in the country.

The TikTok bans in countries like India and the pending deal in the United States create an opportunity for a new player to emerge.

What’s Next: Oracle Corporation ORCL is the winner in the TikTok sweepstakes for the U.S., announcing a partnership rather than an acquisition Monday. 

Large technology companies are continuing to push into the short-form video market to reach a growing market and also take share from TikTok as it faces uncertainty in the U.S. and other countries outside of China. FB's company Instagram launched Reels, its short-form video platform, to 50 countries in August.

Snap Inc SNAP is said to be a big winner from the TikTok drama, according to SensorTower data.

Snapchat was downloaded 28.5 million times in August, a 29% increase year-over-year and the most downloads of the app since May 2019.

Courtesy photo. 

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