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YouTube Launches “Shorts”, Facebook Improves Messenger

Youtube Launches its TikTok-like “Shorts” Tool in India

Youtube has announced that it will be launching its TikTok-like “Shorts” option to users in India.

Youtube noted;

“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. This is an early version of the product, but we’re releasing it now to bring you – our global community of users, creators and artists – on our journey with us as we build and improve Shorts. We’ll continue to add more features and expand to more countries in the coming month”

Similar to TikTok, shorts will enable users to create 15-second video clips with choice of music and more. It is likely that this will have a huge impact and allow YouTube to fill the gap TikTok left in the indian market. With TikTok gone, it is inevitable that other platforms will try to take its place. Instagram Reels beat YouTube to this and launched a week after the Indian Government’s ban on TikTok.

It is interesting that YouTube has taken so long to launch Shorts in the market, enabling Instagram to gain some momentum. For now it boils down to which platforms users feel more aligned to and likely, which gives them the best chance for exposure and engagement.

In addition to the new create button, YouTube’s also adding a new viewing experience “that lets you easily swipe vertically from one video to the next”. YouTube will also add a new discovery panel to highlight Shorts content in the app, and boost exposure.

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Facebook Adds Video Co-Watching Functionality to Messenger

After launching a co-watching feature for Instagram a few months back in attempts to connect users during COVID-19 lockdown, Facebook will now add a similar function to their Messenger which will allow users to video call up to 50 people.

As explained by Facebook:

“Today, we’re announcing Watch Together so you can enjoy Facebook Watch videos with your friends and family and see their reactions in real-time over Messenger video calls and Messenger Rooms. So, go ahead and oooh and ahhh over a video by your favorite celebrity, shed a tear over a puppy rescue video, laugh out loud at the latest viral videos, scream during Blair Witch or feel nostalgic while watching your favorite episode of Community. Watch Together will make you feel together even when you’re not.”

In order to launch the Watch Together stream, you simply start a Messenger video call as normal, or create a Messenger Room, then swipe up to access the menu to “Watch Together”. From there you can select a video suggested for you or choose from a category such as ‘TV & Movies,’ ‘Watched,’ ‘or ‘Uploaded.’

In order to fully optimise the launch of the new feature Facebook has announced:

“To celebrate this launch, we partnered with celebrity fitness trainer and author Melissa Alcantara to create a series of fitness videos to enable people to virtually work out with their friends and motivate each other to achieve their fitness goals. According to a study conducted by Messenger in the US, 70% of people who work out with a partner have achieved a fitness goal in the past 6 months; only 45% of people who work out alone have done the same.”

It will be interesting to see if partnering with a celebrity fitness trainer will enhance the use of the new Messenger Room feature.

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