While YouTube are certainly one of the pioneers of the online video-sharing space, the emergence of TikTok has been a cultural phenomenon. The short-form, raw, user-generated content that populates the platform has taken everybody by surprise (or at least, it did for me), and the company reportedly saw an aggressive growth of over 125 percent over a two-year period.
Now, it looks like Google wants a piece of the pie, with a new report from The Information stating that the search engine giants will launch YouTube “Shorts”. This was also seemingly confirmed by MSNBC‘s Dylan Byers:
Apparently, “Shorts” will not be a standalone app—instead, a “feed of brief videos posted by users” will be displayed within the YouTube app. Users will be able to share short-form video onto the platform, while the platform’s vast library of licensed music is also available to use (as background music).
There aren’t too many solid details available just yet, but it already looks as if YouTube’s take on short-form content will be heavily “inspired” by TikTok. TikTok, launched in China back in 2016 before a global release in 2018, is known for its fast-paced, shoot-from-home style of videos, and part of the appeal is the ability to create full videos—background music and effects/filters included—entirely from your smartphone.
This isn’t the first time that YouTube has introduced a feature that appears to be heavily “inspired” by a competitor’s offering. YouTube Stories is obviously a copycat of an idea that was originally made popular by Snapchat, although Stories on Google’s video-sharing platform last for 7 days (most Stories on other providers last for 24 hours).
Perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing. I mean, Instagram did the same thing to Snapchat with some pretty successful results, while it could be argued that the platform that originally popularised short-form online content was Vine. The report also states that Facebook is looking to push something similar onto its platform: Lasso.
That makes a lot of sense to me. Even as most of the world—or at least, those in severely-impacted regions—stays home to curb the spread of COVID-19, short-form content is more popular than ever. The ability to pick up a phone, shoot a quick, fun video, and add all sorts of fun effects—all within a single smartphone—is what makes the genre such a popular one.
And isn’t TikTok addictive?