YouTube on Monday officially announced the beta launch of Shorts, a new short-form video vertical within the app, in India. The feature will allow users, in India to begin with, to upload 15-second or shorter vertical videos with a set of creator tools, including a multi-segment camera, speed controls, and a timer and countdown feature. Creators will also be able to add music from YouTube’s library of songs.
The service is clearly made to replace Bytedance’ TikTok which the Indian government banned in June. A preview on the announcement page shows that service, like Instagram Reels, looks identical to TikTok. YouTube will also let users browse a sweeping feed that will let them swipe to more videos.
The feature will be prominently highlighted within the YouTube app on Android, and will expand to iOS in time, YouTube said. Depending on how the India rollout goes, Shorts will be expanded to other countries with more features in the coming months.
YouTube had announced that this feature was being tested a day before US President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning transactions with TikTok. Some YouTube users have already been seeing short videos on their feed, but it has not been given a dedicated section until now.
YouTube is trying to capture market left behind by TikTok, something that Instagram and a bunch of Indian apps such as Moj and Roposo have also been trying to do since the TikTok ban. The Bytedance-owned app is entangled in a geopolitical tussle in the United States, where President Donald Trump forced the company to divest its assets to an American company over concerns that Americans’ personal data would be shared with the Chinese government. Trump had imposed a September 20 deadline for Bytedance to announce a plan for the sale of TikTok in the US. Oracle has struck a deal and will to serve as TikTok’s “trusted technology partner”.