YouTube tests TikTok rival in India FILE PHOTO: The Google and YouTube logos are seen at the entrance to the Google offices in Los Angeles, California, November 21, 2019.(Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
YOUTUBE has started testing a TikTok rival in India, saying it would refine its short video format and roll it out in more countries in coming months.
YouTube Shorts made its debut as TikTok pursues a partnership with Oracle that it hopes will spare it from being shut-down in the US by president Donald Trump.
Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin has confirmed a bid from Oracle concerning TikTok’s American operations after the video-sharing app’s parent ByteDance rejected a proposal from Microsoft.
But it remained unclear whether the venture would pass muster with Washington regulators.
“Shorts is a new short-form video experience for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones,” YouTube vice president of product management Chris Jaffe said in a blog.
“Over the next few days in India, we’re launching an early beta of Shorts with a handful of new creation tools to test this out.”
YouTube Shorts videos are limited to 15 seconds, according to the Google-owned platform used by some 2 billion people worldwide.
Jaffe noted that Shorts will be modified based on user feedback before being made more broadly available.
TikTok’s brand of brief, quirky videos made on users’ cellphones has grown hugely popular.
But Trump’s claims that TikTok could be used by China to track US federal employees, build dossiers for blackmail and conduct corporate espionage has sparked a diplomatic storm between Washington and Beijing.
TikTok has rejected the charges and sued over the crackdown, contending that the US order was a misuse of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act because the platform is not “an unusual and extraordinary threat.”
Trump effectively ordered the sale of the Chinese company’s US operations by September 20, after which the app would shut down.