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YouTube Launches ‘Reels’ to Let Creators Post Snapchat-Like Video Stories

YouTube is the latest to jump on the “stories” bandwagon, adapting the short-form content format popularized by Snapchat.

The new feature, called Reels, is “YouTube’s spin on the popular ‘stories’ format, but designed specifically for YouTube creators,” Roy Livne, YouTube senior product manager, wrote in a blog post.

Reels, available to creators in a beta-test mode, lets users post videos of up to 30 seconds long. But a big difference between Snapchat Stories and other copycat implementations (like Instagram Stories) is that YouTube’s Reels won’t necessarily disappear after 24 hours: According to Livne, creators told YouTube that they didn’t want the videos to expire, “so we’ll give you those options.”

Reels also can include links to longer YouTube videos, and will let creators apply filters as well as add music tracks, text and stickers to the videos.

The new Reels feature is part of an update to the social-media-style features in the Community tab. Launched about a year ago for select top creators, YouTube’s Community features are now available to channels with more than 10,000 subscribers. In their Community sections, creators can share polls, pictures, text, GIFs and other content — designed to let channels feed their fans new content on YouTube itself (instead of other social platforms) in between their major video uploads.

“Just like we did with Community, we’ll be experimenting with a beta version of Reels to learn and improve the product before expanding to more creators,” Livne wrote.

In addition, YouTube said it has updated how posts in Community reach users across the platform. Now, a channel’s most-engaged viewers can see Community posts in the Home feed, “whether they’re subscribed to your channel or not,” according to Livne. YouTube also has “optimized” notifications about new Community posts so that subscribers are eligible to receive them, but they won’t necessarily get a new notification for every new post.

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