YouTube goes after TikTok with 'Shorts'

YouTube has put a bull's eye on TikTok.

The popular long-form video sharing site owned by Alphabet is going after the Tik-Tok crowd with something called YouTube Shorts, which started beta testing in the U.S. on Thursday.

YouTube Shorts lets users record mobile friendly vertical videos that can be spiced up with special effects and soundtracks pulled from a music library.

Eventually, YouTube Shorts will be able to use audio from videos across the YouTube platform and users will be able to add text to videos.

Of course this puts the service in head-to-head competition with TikTok, which has soared to global popularity.

YouTube's feature saw a large-scale test run in India starting six months ago when YouTube took advantage of TikTok's ban in the world's second most populous country.

TikTok, which is owned by China's ByteDance, has more than 100 million U.S. users but has run into trouble over its Chinese ownership.

Pressure to spin off U.S. assets has eased with a change in the White House...

but it still faces a Federal Trade Commission probe - looking into allegations it failed to live up to a 2019 agreement aimed at protecting child privacy...

Despite its troubles in the U.S., TikTok isn't giving up and might have some new innovations coming.

Sources tell Reuters TikTok may launch a group messaging feature this year for U.S. youngsters - putting it in direct competition with another U.S. tech giant.....Facebook.