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This article was published on March 17, 2021

YouTube Shorts, Google’s take on TikTok, arrives in the US this week

YouTube Shorts, Google’s take on TikTok, arrives in the US this week
Napier Lopez
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Napier Lopez

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Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in his free time. Follow him on Twitter.

Everyone is copying TikTok these days, YouTube included. Google first began YouTube Shorts in India back in September, but now it appears the beta is ready to expand to the US.

Google seems to have accidentally posted a blog post announcing the expansion earlier today before promptly removing it, (via 9to5Google). The blog post was dated for the 18th, so it appears it was posted early. There’s still a chance something might change between now and then, or that Google could delay the announcement, but it’s clear the company is getting ready to roll out the platform more widely.

Aside from an expansion into the US, the company is adding a number of features to Shorts. For one, the Shorts camera will now allow you to add text to clips, as well as resample audio from other videos throughout YouTube (although creators can opt out from letting their audio be re-used). Here’s how Google described it in the now-removed post:

In the coming months, we’ll launch the ability to use audio from videos across YouTube – which includes billions of videos worldwide – unlocking a new playground of creativity like never before. This means you can give your own creative spin on the content you love to watch on YouTube and help find it a new audience — whether it’s reacting to your favorite jokes, trying your hand at a creator’s latest recipe, or re-enacting comedic skits.

You’ll also be able to find the music you see in videos and re-use it for your own content by tapping on a new ‘Create’ button. Alternatively, you can use the button to find other videos made with the same music — useful for mindlessly scrolling through musical memes. In bringing Shorts to the US, Google is also expanding the pool of licensed music, adding “millions” of songs from 250 labels.

Shorts is Google’s biggest attempt at developing a social network since Google+, and direct access to existing YouTubevideos gives creators a near-infinite pool of content to build off of. The company clearly is going all-in on the feature, saying it plans to find ways to monetize Shorts and reward creators, and that will implement a tab just for Shorts in the YouTube mobile app.

Still, simply being big isn’t enough to build a successful social network (again, remember Google+) — not to mention Instagram is currently vying for some of TikTok’s audience too with Reels.

As the blog post was dated for the 18th, chances are we’ll see the feature start showing up around then.

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