While YouTube's basic formula hasn't changed since its inception, the platform has always been open for novelties when it comes to peripheral features and formats — case in point, experiments like YouTube Stories and new sharing options for video viewers. The latest format Google is bringing to the video platform is inspired by TikTok and is called YouTube Shorts. After an extensive testing period, Google announced that it's going live for all US creators this week but users around the world are starting to see the new YouTube layout.

Like TikTok videos, YouTube Shorts are up to 60 seconds long horizontal videos that loop by default. They'll show up on your YouTube homescreen in a carousel, much like YouTube Stories used to, but they'll also receive their own position in the bottom bar, demoting the "Explore" tab to a small button at the top of the homepage. This new UI has been spotted by users in the US and India which indicates that it's getting a wider rollout.

Shorts get prominent placement in the new YouTube layout on Android.

When it was still in testing, YouTube Shorts had a maximum limit of only 15 seconds, but the new 60-second limit will make the format a much more direct competitor to TikTok, which also allows for up to one minute long videos (though there are exceptions). Viewers will also be able to enable automatic captions on the short videos, and creators get a few more effects and filters to play with.

If Shorts are widely adopted by YouTubers starting this week, you'll probably see a lot of them in your YouTube app, whether you like them or not. And it looks like users across the world can already create Shorts, not just those in the US, so Google is clearly hoping to get the new feature kickstarted with lots of content. Let's just hope YouTube will make it easier to monetize these videos than its failed Stories format that brought next to no value to neither creators nor viewers.

New YouTube layout rolling out globally

Article updated to reflect that the new YouTube layout designed to promote Shorts has started to roll out globally. If you're wondering why the Explore tab has moved to a button in the top left of the YouTube homescreen and been replaced by a Shorts button, this is why.

YouTube
YouTube
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free