YouTube Shorts-the video-sharing website’s quick clips meant to compete with TikTok-are racking up 3.5 billion views a day during beta testing in India, the platform’s head said Tuesday. Susan Wojcikci explained the feature in a note laying out her 2021 priorities. “So far, videos in our new Shorts player – which helps people around the world watch short videos on YouTube – are receiving an impressive 3.5 billion daily views!” she said.
“We’re looking forward to expanding Shorts to more markets this year.” YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, unveiled Shorts in mid-September, describing the videos as “a new way to express yourself in 15 seconds or less.” The feature, directly integrated into the existing YouTube interface, is currently only available in India as part of development work.
The new format is seen as a way for Google to compete with Gen Z-favorite TikTok, which currently has 700 million users worldwide. Former president Donald Trump had threatened to ban TikTok-owned by Chinese group ByteDance-from the United States when he accused the company, without formal proof, of spying on behalf of Beijing. Facebook-owned Instagram responded to TikTok’s popularity with their own short video format called Reels last August. And in November, Snapchat launched Spotlight, a public feed of content produced by users. -AFP