YouTube is developing a rival to TikTok

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki speaks during the opening keynote address at the Google I/O 2017 Conference at Shoreline Amphitheater on May 17, 2017 in Mountain View, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

YouTube is developing a short-form video feature called Shorts that will go head to head with TikTok, the Chinese video-sharing app that has surged in popularity in recent months, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News.

The feature, which will exist inside YouTube’s mobile app, will allow users to link their videos to YouTube’s music library to create videos similar to those on TikTok. The company plans to release the feature later this year.

A YouTube spokesperson declined to comment. News of the Shorts feature was first reported by The Information.

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Social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have been watching TikTok’s rise closely, but YouTube is the first service to make a direct challenge to it.

In a recent interview with NBC News’ Byers Market Podcast, which will air later this month, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki conceded that the company was looking at moving into shorter-form video features.

“Really, really short-form video, like 15 seconds… that is a place that is certainly interesting to look at, and for us to think about,” Wojcicki said.

“We actually have introduced stories on YouTube and we’ve actually seen our creators really engage with the stories,” she added. “That would be an example of really short-form content. So we will definitely continue to innovate in all the different format sizes, including really short-form video.”

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