YouTube Shorts, a bid to tap into the surging popularity of short-form, shareable clips — a format that has fueled TikTok’s massive growth — is going global.
The Google video platform initially launched YouTube Shorts in India in the fall of 2020 and has since expanded the feature to 26 more countries, including the U.S. this spring. Starting this week, it’s rolling out YouTube Shorts to more than 100 countries around the world where YouTube is available.
YouTube Shorts generated 6.5 billion daily views in March 2021 alone, according to Google. The global expansion promises to kick that number higher, even as YouTube still hasn’t thrown the switch on inserting ads or introducing other monetization options for YouTube Shorts.
“We are deeply committed to supporting the next generation of mobile creators with Shorts, and are actively working on what monetization options will look like in the future,” YouTube said in announcing the global rollout of Shorts. In May it announced the YouTube Shorts Fund, promising to distribute $100 million to creators of the most-engaging short clips, expected to kick off in the fall of 2021 and continue into 2022.
Currently, YouTube Shorts allows users to record videos up to 60 seconds in length. TikTok recently announced it was expanding the max length of individual clips from 60 seconds to three minutes.
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Like TikTok, YouTube Shorts provides features like a multi-segment camera to string multiple video clips together, the ability to record with music, and control speed settings. Creators also can add text to specific points in their video, sample audio from other Shorts to remix into their own clips, add clips from the phone’s camera roll, and add basic filters to color-correct videos (with more effects promised down the road).
YouTube also has started rolling out the ability to sample audio from any video on YouTube (although creators can opt out of this if they don’t want their long-form video stuffed into other people’s Shorts).
As part of investing in YouTube Shorts, the platform has added a row on the YouTube homepage dedicated to Shorts and plans to add a tab for YouTube Shorts on its mobile apps. It also launched the ability to swipe vertically from one video to the next (like TikTok). And if you hear a song in a YouTube Shorts clip, you can click to find the full version of a song and the music video on YouTube proper.
YouTube is still calling the Shorts feature a “beta” feature.
“We know that it will take us time to get this right, but we can’t wait for you to try Shorts and help us build a first-class short-form video experience right on YouTube,” the YouTube team wrote in the blog.