YouTube tempts creators with a half dozen new features for Shorts

As competition with TikTok and Reels heats up, YouTube on Thursday announced a slate of new features designed to make its short-form video product, YouTube Shorts, more compelling. In a video update for creators, YouTube Chief Product Officer Johanna Voolich introduced six new tools that will help creators craft their Shorts videos, including those that will automatically transform longer videos into Shorts, among others, as well as tools to inspire creation, like an "Add Yours" sticker that prompts others to share their own content related to a creator's video.

"One thing I love is that anyone can build a Short — even I can build a Short — because we have all these tools that make it a very accessible way to become a creator," Voolich said ahead of the introduction of the new tools and features.

Two of the offerings focus on how you want to present the audio and speech in your video. For instance, one lets you create auto-generated captions that you can edit and customize with different fonts and colors, while another lets you choose from four voices to have your text narrated or spoken out loud.

In addition to the "Add Yours" sticker, creators are gaining access to two new effects celebrating the popular game Minecraft's 15th anniversary. One, Minecraft Spring, lets you film a video inside the world of Minecraft, and Minecraft Rush adds a new mini-game that can be played inside the Shorts player. For the latter, the goal is to record yourself tapping to clear the blocks as quickly as you can, then share that video with others to see who's faster.

However, the new tools that let YouTube capitalize on its existing and sizable collection of public videos are of particular interest.

With a new auto layout tool, arriving soon, creators will be able to turn their regular videos into Shorts more easily. Building on last year's launch of tools to create Shorts from long-form content, the new auto-layout offering, initially available on Android, will automatically track the video's main subject when turning the video into a Short. That means it will automatically and dynamically pan, zoom and crop the video for you, according to YouTube.

Another tool will let people remix a remix. Remixes are Shorts videos that incorporate a video segment from another user's YouTube video or Shorts video, so long as the video is public and the creator hasn't opted out of having their content reused in this way. While YouTube already offers various tools for remixing videos, the new addition will let creators create remixes from existing remixes, instead of only from other long-form or Shorts videos.

Voolich said that Shorts videos now receive 70 billion daily views, which, perhaps concerningly, is the same figure YouTube announced last September. She also hinted that YouTube may test Shorts videos that extend beyond 60 seconds.

"It seems like some people want shorter Shorts and some people want longer Shorts, so we're trying to figure out what is the right cutoff," Voolich said.

Some of the new features are newly available but still rolling out, while others will be launched "soon," YouTube said.