WASHINGTON — YouTube announced on Monday a new short-form video feature called "Shorts" to compete with TikTok. The company said it will be launching an early beta in India before expanding to other countries.
In a blog post, Vice President of Product Management Chris Jaffe said the videos are 15 seconds or less and will be part of the YouTube app. It will look a lot like the Chinese-owned TikTok with the capabilities to string video clips together, having the option to record a video with music and a timer setting with a countdown to easily record.
"Shorts is a new short-form video experience for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones," Jaffe said.
The plan to expand the feature to more counties will take place "in the coming months," Jaffe said. He added that since Short is only in its early stages, at the moment it's only available for Android phones, but it will expand to the iPhone.
The move to launch the platform in India comes after the country banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps in June over border tensions, according to BBC.
President Donald Trump's administration has threatened to ban TikTok by Sept. 20 and ordered its owner ByteDance to sell its U.S. business, claiming national security risks due to its Chinese ownership.
The YouTube product release came as Oracle on Monday said it had been selected to be the “trusted technology provider" for TikTok, beating out rival Microsoft.
YouTube isn't the first company to try and compete with TikTok. Facebook's Instagram launched a similar feature: Instagram Reels.
The Instagram feature lets users record and edit 15-second videos with audio, and will let users add visual effects. Users will be able to share Reels with followers in the Instagram app in a dedicated section called Reels in Explore, or in the Story feature where posts disappear after 24 hours.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.