31 August 2021
UPDATE (July 14th, 2021):
Google has announced YouTube Shorts is now available globally. It was originally debuted in India but has now been expanded to over 100 countries. This is YouTube's rival to TikTok in the short video format category. It should be noted that the release is currently in the beta stage but there are no words on the stable release yet.
Original (September 15th, 2020)
Ever since TikTok was banned in India, competing companies have been trying to grab the opportunity and fill the void. Instagram was the first major tech brand to do so with the release of Reels. It has now been joined by none other than YouTube itself. As per the official announcement, YouTube Shorts is a new short video creation mode that has been released first in India.
Shorts resides within the main YouTube app and allows users to record video clips up to 15 seconds in length. It can be accessed by tapping the Create icon and then choosing the Create a short option. It supports multi-segment camera functionality so that multiple shots can be merged together to create a single Short clip.
The mode comes loaded with a bunch of video editing features similar to TikTok. The users will be able to browse through YouTube's massive catalog of music to find the perfect track for their clips. There are currently over 100,000 tracks to choose from but the team says more and more tracks will be added with time. Other features include playback speed control, timer, and the countdown to help users create.
As for browsing Shorts created by others, YouTube's main app has a special row at the top where you will see circles. It is the same as how stories are shown by various social media apps. Once you start watching any Shorts clip, you will be able to scroll for watching more content instead of going back to the app. This browsing experience is what made TikTok different and helped keep users engaged with the app.
The official announcement does not mention when YouTube Shorts could be expected to markets beyond India. It is safe to assume that the team would gauge the user response and feedback before deciding on any expansion plans. Nevertheless, we will keep you in the loop as and when it will become available globally.