YouTube Shorts

By: Nick Gambino

Social media platforms are notorious for copying or straight up ripping off the features of other popular platforms. Instagram Stories and Reels are basically Snapchat and TikTok respectively. Hell, Facebook is just a retooled version of what MySpace was already doing. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. “Try to do what the other guy is doing only better” is business in a nutshell.

In Social Media Giant Rips Off Competitor news, Google has launched YouTube Shorts, their answer to TikTok. While it’s been available in India for some months now, this is the first time we’re seeing it stateside.

The beta version of the short video format tool will allow creators to make their own little creative videos just like TikTok and Instagram’s Reels.

Unlike TikTok and just like Reels, Shorts will reside within the YouTube app instead of getting its own app.

“YouTube Shorts is a way for anyone to connect with a new audience with just a smartphone and the Shorts camera in the YouTube app,” a post under YouTube Help says. “YouTube’s Shorts creation tool makes it easy to create videos that are up to 15 seconds long with the option to capture multiple clips.”

The 15-second length differs from TikTok which allows you to make video clips up to 60 seconds long these days. Google does say anything 60 seconds or less is considered a Short, but their Shorts camera only allows you to capture 15 seconds or less. I believe you have the option of uploading a Short captured outside the app.

While YouTube is a place to make money from your content (typically through ads), you can’t currently monetize your Shorts. I guess placing ads in front of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it video clips might drive users to other platforms. Even 5-second ads would be too much.

While Google floated the idea of possibly making money off Shorts in the future, without ads, they’d have to figure out another way to monetize these little guys.

One thing YouTube Shorts certainly has working against them is time and experience. Sure they’ve mastered videos in general, but these short-form videos are currently dominated by TikTok and have been throughout most of the pandemic. That means time is on TikTok’s side. They’ve had room to add features the community wants and make it a truly collaborative experience.

They also pay their creators. So there’s that.