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What you need to know

  • YouTube Shorts is rolling out in its early stages to the U.S. beginning today, and expanding to more users in the coming weeks.
  • YouTube Shorts originally launched in beta in India, where TikTok is banned, back in September 2020.
  • Along with the U.S. expansion, YouTube Shorts is gaining new features for creators, including the ability to add time-based text and sample audio from other Shorts.

Short-form videos are all the rage, it seems. Following an early preview in India over the last few months, YouTube is expanding its TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts, in its beta state to the U.S. today, and adding a handful of new features to the platform.

As is the case with TikTok and Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts as a platform is all about quick, shareable videos — up to 15 seconds in length, with the ability to add music, slow down or speed up footage, and string multiple clips into one export. The best part is that you don't need one of the best Android phones to make great Shorts, and with the U.S. expansion, users will be able to add time-based text to their clips and choose from a wider list of songs for their videos.

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Specifically, Google says that YouTube Shorts features a catalog of millions of songs from 250 labels and publishers including heavy hitters like Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment. You'll also be able to sample audio from other Shorts, with plans of expanding this sampling feature to all YouTube videos in the near future. Of course, the original source of the audio, whether music or video, will be linked within each Short.

Google is also teasing more tools for the YouTube Shorts camera UI, as well as possibly adding a dedicated Shorts tab to the bottom bar of the YouTube app. For now, you'll be able to watch Shorts within the Home tab.

The YouTube Shorts beta will roll out in waves beginning today, gradually reaching more users in the coming weeks.