YouTube to Give TikTok Rival: YouTube wants to give Shorts, a TikTok competitor, a competitive advantage. The company confirmed that a recent global test that defaults the YouTube mobile app to open directly in Shorts if the user had previously watched Shorts videos before exiting is being expanded.
According to the company, the test, which was announced publicly last week, has only been running for a small percentage of global users on iOS. YouTube has now announced that the experiment will be expanded to Android as well.
Best known as TikTok’s rival on mobile, the app has been downloaded more than 120 million times across iOS and Android devices since it launched overseas last year.
In 2021 alone, YouTube said that its YouTube Watch Later feature is now adding over one billion clips every day into users’ personal Watch collections for viewing later via web browser whenever they choose to watch them—and not just those viewed directly within the YouTube mobile apps themselves.
Based on internal data provided by the Google Analytics platform Smartly, there are approximately 600 hours of video daily to the company’s Watch Later feature, with a growing percentage of those clips now set to be viewed via Shorts.
According to a YouTube spokesperson, the company is using the new test to see if users find it useful to resume where they left off the last time they closed the app.
However, the test indicates that YouTube views TikTok, as well as the broader shift to short-form video, as a potential threat to its business.
YouTube to Give TikTok Rival, Despite the fact that TikTok popularised the short-form vertical feed format, it has been infiltrating YouTube’s territory in recent months.
TikTok, for example, increased the maximum video length from 60 seconds to three minutes this summer. And it’s been spotted testing five-minute clips on iOS devices recently too (the current limit set by Shorts).
Meanwhile, this year Google will be cutting back on the number of videos it serves to users in its main YouTube app by around 50%, as part of an effort to focus more on quality than quantity of content.
The company said it has gone on a hiring spree to attract more of the publishing industry’s top video creators and journalists for its growth.