Even as India banned TikTok, the Google-owned YouTube jumped into the race with YouTube Shorts – a service that allows you to share short 15-seconds videos.
YouTube Shorts, however, did not apparently get the kind of run that it hoped to get. Even in India, YouTube Shorts has not made much headway.
And in a move that is tantamount to hard-selling it, YouTube has now pushed the 'Shorts' icon on the YouTube App's homepage in India.
The new home screen places 'Shorts' at the top. It is positioned in such a way that it immediately catches the eye of the users. YouTube hopes that this prominent placement will make it easier for users to tap through and see the latest in the dedicated 'Shorts' feed.
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New icon placement in both Android and iOS
YouTube has rolled out this option to users in India who use the app on Android or iOS.
In an explainer, YouTube said: "We’ll be adding a Shorts icon to the top or bottom row of the mobile app that makes it easier for you to tap and watch Shorts on YouTube. Those who are in the experiment will either see a Shorts icon in place of the Explore tab (with the Explore icon moved to the top row) or will see a Shorts icon in place of the Cast icon in the top row (casting can still be done in the player while watching a video)."
Shorts, as it is, has been rolled out only in select markets led by India. The Indian market is targeted by YouTube for obvious reasons — here TikTok, which specialises in short videos, is absent because of the government ban.
Google may have to decide between Shorts and Reposo
YouTube Shorts has to, however, reckon with desi replacements like Reposo that have seen huge user numbers post TikTok ban. Reposo has 33 million monthly active users.
Interestingly, Google has invested $140 million in entities owned by InMobi. The latter owns Reposo. So it remains to be seen what happens to Reposo's future after Google's entry into InMobi.
Google driving YouTube Shorts and also investing in a company that runs a competitor to Shorts is a paradox.
Google may eventually have to decide between the two.