YouTube Makes a TikTok-Like Change (You May Hate it) – TheStreet

Since its release in 2016, the quick-byte social media app known as TikTok has completely changed the landscape of social media. The platform is known for its format and editing tools, which make for quick, easily-digestible, and highly-scrollable clips. Short-form video busting onto the scene has ignited a fire under almost every major website to get in on the action.
Meta Platforms  (META) – Get Free Report seems to agree and has added its own alternative to TikTok called Reels. Google  (GOOG) – Get Free Report subsidiary YouTube also has its own short-form video content called Shorts
TikTok is even such a big deal that it's competing with some of Google's business recommendation services among Gen Z. At Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference, Alphabet’s Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan made comments on the matter. 
“In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search,” he said. “They go to TikTok or Instagram.” The survey he mentions hasn't been made public yet, but it reportedly was given to U.S. residents ages 18-24. One thing is for certain, younger generations are looking to engage with visual mediums that feel a little more human and engaging than a search bar.
While Alphabet's Google is trying out new ways to compete with TikTok for search traffic, YouTube Shorts have been incredibly successful for the platform and its parent company. Google reports that 1.5 billion users tune in to watch Shorts per month, and YouTube is working to fold Shorts into its greater video ecosystem.
YouTube has been testing methods for integrating Shorts and regular video content. For example, if a user navigates to YouTube unsure of what they'd like to watch, a particular Short could guide them to a YouTube channel that may engage the user to spend more time on the streaming platform. Shorts may be a way to keep up with TikTok, but the idea is to make quick-clip features uniquely tailored to support YouTube's platform.
As a step in that direction, yesterday YouTube announced that Shorts are available to watch via TV. YouTube has seen great success in making its platform available on TVs thanks to its preference for content filmed with a horizontal orientation. The problem with Shorts is that, just like TikToks, they're designed to be viewed on a mobile device. To find out what users would prefer, the team at YouTube tested three different layouts to bring Shorts to a big screen. 
The first layout tested was the classic YouTube mobile-oriented video, if you can remember such a thing. It's filmed on a camera phone, which takes up a third of the screen, and the remainder of the screen is solid-colored. The progress bar runs across the bottom of the screen and the video dimensions are the same as a regular YouTube video. A second layout option was what designers called a "jukebox-style" layout that would feature your past, current, and upcoming Shorts from left to right across the screen.
But according to YouTube, the design customers preferred was the customized design. In the center, users find the Short they're watching. Meanwhile, the empty right and left sides of the screen are filled with options to view each hashtag, read comments, leave a like, and more.
Surprisingly, designers found that the users who tested the beta designs preferred to have more engagement. Even though users were interacting with a remote instead of a phone, having more options to curate your Shorts queue is, according to YouTube, what the people want.


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