Alphabet Inc.’s video sharing app – YouTube – has decided to launch a short video sharing platform to rival TikTok.
YouTube announced on Monday that it is launching Shorts, which is an app intended to leverage on the current travail of TikTok to create a worthy competition.
Shorts will be launched within the already existing YouTube app.
The company said in its blog that it will first test the feature in India over the next few days and then expand the service to more countries in the coming months.
“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. And people can be entertained and informed by bite-sized content in the spare minutes of the day,” the blog reads.
Shorts is designed to compete with Facebook Inc’s Reels and TikTok.
Shorts will let users record 15-second mobile-friendly videos, and also allow them to add special effects and soundtracks pulled from a music picker feature in the app.
According to a YouTube spokesperson, the music picker:
“Currently has 100,000s of tracks, and we’re working with music artists, labels and publishers to make more of their content available to continue expanding our catalog.”
YouTube’s decision to launch Shorts in India is believed to be a tactical move to leverage on the ban on TikTok in India.
India had banned TikTok, and other Chinese apps in June, saying they pose a “threat to sovereignty and integrity.”
As a result of the ban, Indian TikTokers are scrambling to find alternative platforms to share their creativity through short videos.
YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki told NBC that:
“We actually have introduced stories on YouTube and we’ve actually seen our creators really engage with the stories…”
“…that would be an example of really short-form content. So we will definitely continue to innovate in all the different format sizes, including really short-form video.”
According to a YouTube spokesperson, Shorts is meant to be a globally used app, however, there is currently no estimate for when Shorts may appear in other countries.