Practically like FaceApp, TikTok was an instant phenomenon and like the face-morphing app, it got pulled into a privacy and security controversy. However, unlike FaceApp, the problems of TikTok grew to a national level in the US and its demise in the country was all but assured. Although Oracle and the U.S. gov still love their fate.YouTube seems to take no risks and is conducting a beta test for its new Shorts format, taking on TikTok directly when it’s down.
YouTube gives us a very brief history lesson by telling the world that the very first video that was posted to its servers was only a short-form video of 18 seconds. Of course, YouTube today has evolved to include videos of all styles and ages, but with such short videos it has never really bothered the way Vine did years ago. Of course that was before TikTok made it big.
It’s hard not to think YouTube is trying to ride on the coattails and issues of TikTok but it wouldn’t be the first one to do so. However, it may be one of the first ones that really has a chance to make it big. YouTube also has many years of experience in recording and posting content, a music library at its fingertips and the best AI and machine learning talent for Google at its disposal.
YouTube Shorts, as it is called, is an almost exact analog of what TikTok provides, allowing users to record or stitch 15 seconds or shorter videos together. Shorts also comes with a worldwide YouTube audience with the possibility of creating not just an audience but potentially a company around those short videos as well.
Given its promise, it’s a little surprising that, for now, YouTube only launches the Shorts beta in India. Maybe it doesn’t want to look too greedy for the pie part of TikTok, particularly since the fate of the latter is still undecided. Google has also had a very poor record of creating social networks outside YouTube, so it’s not exactly a guarantee that Shorts will be successful.