Google’s YouTube is launching a TikTok competitor it calls YouTube Shorts.
The app will roll out in India before arriving in other countries, and will enable users to create and publish 15-second videos, using tools already available on TikTok. String multiple video clips together, set them to music from a library of popular songs, and control the footage’s speed.
However, YouTube Shorts won’t be a standalone product. Instead, it will be baked inside the existing YouTube mobile app. Google is also indicating it’s going to change the YouTube homepage with a new section devoted to the short-form clips, making them easy to find.
But why launch it first in India? In June, the country banned TikTok over concerns the Chinese-owned video-sharing app represents a potential spying threat. So YouTube Shorts will arrive in India when many local users have been looking for an alternative.
Although TikTok denies it poses a security threat, the app has been facing the same spying charges in the US. The Trump administration has been threatening to ban it, but just yesterday TikTok reportedly struck a deal with Oracle to jointly run the video-sharing app. Whether the arrangement will appease the White House remains unclear at this point.
As for YouTube, the platform is launching YouTube Shorts first for Android users in India before expanding it to iOS. Users in the country can start creating the videos via a new “+” icon at the bottom of the app, which lets them upload a normal clip or a YouTube Short.
“We’ll continue to add more features and expand to more countries in the coming months as we learn from you and listen to your feedback,” YouTube wrote in today’s announcement.