YouTube is now cloning TikTok with a number of new test features, experimenting with short-form video editing tools.
YouTube’s product team is rolling out a new test tool for some YouTubers to experiment with short-form video. The feature sounds suspiciously similar to TikTok’s 15-second videos, but with a twist.
“We’re testing out a new way for creators to easily record multiple clips directly in the YouTube mobile app and upload as one video,” The YouTube experiments page says. “If you’re in this experiment, you’ll see an option to ‘create a video’ in the mobile upload flow.”
It sounds like the experiment is a way to stitch multiple short-form videos together into one. YouTube seems to be copying TikTok to make short-form video-editing easier on the platform. But Twitter had all of this back in 2014 with Vine before it shut the service down.
YouTube says the process allows multiple 15-second videos to be stitched together. It’s not eschewing longer videos; it’s just giving people the option to craft TikTok-style videos natively in the YouTube mobile app.
As YouTube copies TikTok video-editing tools, Facebook is doing the same thing.
At some point, all this feature-cloning becomes a blur. Instagram’s TikTok-like ‘Reels’ feature is expanding to France and Germany after its successful trial in Brazil. After Facebook’s separate TikTok clone app ‘Lasso’ failed, the company is smartly rolling its TikTok features into Instagram.
“If you’d like to upload a longer video, you’ll still be able to do so by uploading from your phone gallery instead of recording through the app,” YouTube’s experiment page explains. “We’re starting these experiments on mobile (both Android and iOS) with a small group of people while we gather feedback.”
That means the feature is only available to a few select YouTube creators for now. You can bet the feature will eventually graduate to becoming available to all YouTube creators. Short-form video creation is a massively viral way to communicate.
Twitter caught lightning in a bottle back in 2014 with Vine but didn’t know how to capitalize on it. After shutting down Vine in 2016, Musical.ly sprung from its ashes. Musical.ly’s massive popularity attracted the attention of Chinese company Bytedance, who acquired it in 2017.
Facebook tried unsuccessfully to acquire Musical.ly for more than six months in 2017. That failure to acquire Musical.ly, which transformed into TikTok, must really burn Zuckerberg. Now American tech companies from Facebook to Google are working to full-scale copy TikTok’s features.
TikTok remains under U.S. government investigation for censorship and spyware concerns.