Like the popular dude in stereotypical high-school movies, TikTok has become the latest thing everyone is either fighting for or trying to be like. While American tech companies fight over the ownership of the app in the U.S., other tech giants have tried to copy its format and lure its following to their apps—especially in countries where the app has either been banned or is controversial.
The latest to do so after Instagram Reels is now YouTube. With the beta version of “Shorts” that YouTube is launching in India, it is bringing the 15-second video experience on the app we all have spent hours bingeing videos. “We’re excited to announce that we are building YouTube Shorts, a new short-form video experience right on YouTube for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones,” said the company in their press release that came out on September 14.
While the company has recently begun highlighting videos that only last a few seconds long in its mobile app, Shorts takes things to the next level by offering video creation tools akin to those found on TikTok and Reels—speed controls and multisegment camera options to string video clips together and record them with music. Like all tech companies, it is also pushing creation on smartphones. “As technology advances, creators and artists can now take advantage of the incredible power of smartphones to easily create and publish high-quality content wherever they are in the world,” they said.
But even though the video giant is certainly jumping on the latest bandwagon and attempting to carve out a space for itself in the bite-sized video obsessed world, the app actually made TikToks before TikToks were a thing. In fact, the first video on the app happened to be an 18 seconds-long video of a man at a zoo. “Elephants have really, really, really long trunks,” is all the video says. Many creators on the platform also came from Twitter’s now discontinued six-second video app, Vine.
This update is an early version of the product, that is being launched exclusively for the 265 million users the app has in India—they’re planning on building and improving Shorts as they go, depending on the feedback they receive from the country. They eventually plan to go global and bring the app to all of the 2 billion users worldwide.
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