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YouTube Shorts is beta testing in the U.S. What makes the new app different from TikTok?

Like TikTok, the new app is designed to create and share short, catchy videos on smartphones

SHARE YouTube Shorts is beta testing in the U.S. What makes the new app different from TikTok?
This Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 photo shows the icon for TikTok taken in New York. From the perspective of teens flooding onto TikTok, the Chinese-owned online video app is a major new outlet for self-expression, one proudly home to the silly, the loud and the weird. To others, though, the service is an unnerving black box that could be sharing information with the Chinese government, facilitating espionage, or just promoting videos and songs some parents consider lewd. (AP Photo)

This Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 photo shows the icon for TikTok taken in New York. A new app called YouTube Shorts, Google’s response to the increasingly popular video app TikTok, is now beta testing in the U.S.

Associated Press

A new app called YouTube Shorts, Google’s response to the increasingly popular video app TikTok, is now beta testing in the U.S. The app will be available across the entire country within the next few weeks, according to Deadline.

What is YouTube Shorts?

CNN reports that the new app, like TikTok, is designed for social media users to create short, catchy videos with nothing more than their smartphones. YouTube Shorts will offer its users a way to string together multiple clips, add music, insert captions and use a countdown timer to record videos hands-free. According to the site, all of those aforementioned features are currently available on TikTok.

What makes YouTube Shorts different from TikTok?

YouTube has teased a few unique tools that the company hopes will help the app to stand out from its competition, CNN reports. Unlike TikTok, YouTube Shorts will work in tandem with YouTube, allowing users to pull audio clips from full-length YouTube videos and use them in their creations, Deadline reports. According to the site, this function will give users access to millions of songs from over 250 publishers and labels, including media titans like Sony, Warner and Universal.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, YouTube Shorts underwent its first beta test in India (where TikTok is banned) in September. Over the past six months, YouTube reports the app has surpassed 6.5 billion daily views, according to the site.

YouTube is still tweaking the app, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and the product is expected to include several new tools in the coming months.

Even more competition

CNN reports that the YouTube Shorts is joining a crowded field of short-form video services as numerous companies are trying to capitalize off the recent craze for bite-sized videos. In 2020, Instagram launched its Reels feature and Snapchat similarly added a Spotlight channel that’s awarding hundreds of thousands of dollars to some lucky users. Earlier this year, two TikTok rivals combined forces, CNN reports, and another competitor called Dubsmash was recently purchased by Reddit, according to Tech Crunch.

Key quote

  • “YouTube made it so that a whole generation of people using cameras and computers and video editing software could practice their craft and build an audience,” YouTube Shorts’ product lead Todd Sherman said (via CNN). “That story is very similar to the story of what we’re doing with Shorts once again, except now it’s all based on the phone and what you can get done inside of a phone.”