YouTube Shorts strengthens its competition against TikTok with innovative Collab and Q&A features

As the competition heats up against TikTok and Instagram Reels, YouTube is stepping up its game by announcing an array of enhanced creation tools for its short-form video platform, YouTube Shorts. These new features encompass tools for remixing, adding effects, utilizing stickers, going live, and more, all with the goal of fostering creativity. Additionally, the company is conducting a trial run of a fresh, mobile-first vertical live experience that will help live creators gain exposure in the primary Shorts feed.

According to YouTube, Shorts are currently being viewed by over 2 billion logged-in users each month, leading to the introduction of these tools aimed at enriching the Shorts experience for creators.

A prominent addition to the toolbox is the "Collab" feature, which allows creators to record a Short in a side-by-side format with other YouTube or Shorts videos. Collab complements other remixing tools such as Green Screen, which enables the use of a YouTube video or Short as the background, and Cut, facilitating the snipping of a one- to five-second clip from a YouTube video or Short for remixing. Meanwhile, Collab provides an array of side-by-side layout options for a split-screen format and can be accessed through the same "Remix" option available on videos.

Initially, Collab will be made available on iOS with Android support to follow.

YouTube is also introducing a new Q&A sticker, empowering creators to engage with their audience by posing questions and obtaining responses in the comments. Moreover, creators can now respond to comments using a Short video, mirroring a feature found on TikTok.

For live creators, YouTube will commence testing the inclusion of live videos in a new version of the Shorts feed, in a manner reminiscent of TikTok's approach.

Viewers within the test group will encounter previews of live videos interspersed with other Shorts as they scroll. Tapping on a live video will lead them to a dedicated feed comprising solely of live videos, akin to TikTok's interface. YouTube points out that the new, less stringent eligibility requirements for joining the YouTube Partner Program could open up additional monetization possibilities for live video creators within the live feed.

The company is also rolling out fresh tools aimed at fueling inspiration. One such feature automatically bundles both the audio and effect from a video being remixed, streamlining participation in trends. By tapping the Remix button and selecting "use sound," YouTube will present both the effect and the corresponding audio time stamp from the Short that was just viewed.

Another recent addition allows saving Shorts to playlists on YouTube, providing a means of curating videos with effects that creators may wish to use in subsequent Shorts.

While the majority of the new features are being rolled out today, YouTube has plans to test "recomposition" tools in the near future. These tools will enable creators to convert horizontal videos into Shorts, offering options to adjust layout, zoom, and crop, as well as incorporate split-screen elements. Testing for this feature is expected to commence within the next few weeks and is likely to expand the pool of videos that can be remixed into Shorts.

These updates come as a response to TikTok's announcement, permitting creators to generate video ads to boost earnings on the platform, alongside Instagram's introduction of a new feature streamlining Reels creation using templates.

Shorts has experienced robust growth since its inception, thanks to its seamless integration into the YouTube platform. Last year, YouTube reported that 1.5 billion monthly logged-in YouTube users watched Shorts, with this figure increasing by an additional half a billion at the time of the latest earnings announcement. YouTube is optimistic about the trajectory of watch time and monetization, although specific metrics have not been disclosed.