Shreyas Kulkarni
Social Media

YouTube to take on TikTok with a new app

The most popular video-sharing platform on the internet seems to have taken note of TikTok's drastic growth and popularity.

YouTube is reportedly planning to take on the social media platform TikTok by launching its version called 'Shorts'.

Owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, TikTok, which was launched in 2018, has seen its popularity and downloads soar. It’s a social media platform where users can upload self-made short videos.

According to businessofapps.com, TikTok saw 738 million downloads in 2019, and has an overall download statistic of 1.5 billion. India is the top market for TikTok and last year, the short video app saw 323 million downloads in the country.

CNET says, in a report on December 16, 2020, that TikTok was the fourth most downloaded app in 2019, after Facebook Messenger, Facebook and WhatsApp Messenger.

It is no wonder then that YouTube wants to take on TikTok. Shorts is said to launch by the end of the year. Users will be able to upload short feed videos within the YouTube app and use the platform’s vast collection of licensed music — a formidable advantage over other platforms.

But, YouTube isn’t the first company to test such a feature.

In 2019, Facebook launched ‘Lasso’, a short video sharing app on iOS and Android aimed at teenagers. It allows users to upload 15-second-long videos on the app. As of now, the service is available only in the US and Latin America.

A TechCrunch report, on November 10, 2018, quoted a Facebook spokesperson as saying, “Lasso is a new standalone app for short-form, entertaining videos — from comedy to beauty to fitness and more. We’re excited about the potential here, and we’ll be gathering feedback from people and creators.”

In 2019, Instagram also launched a feature to take on TikTok. Called 'Reels' and limited to Brazil, users can upload 15-second-long videos like TikTok. They can also apply music and share them as stories on their Instagram profiles.

Robby Stein, director of product management, Instagram, told TechCrunch, in a report on November 12, 2019, “No two products are exactly the same, and at the end of the day, sharing video with music is a pretty universal idea, we think, everyone might be interested in using. The focus has been on how to make this a unique format for us.”