While the social effort started with the Community feature a year ago, Google is now testing "Reels" - a cool name for a feature blatantly copied from Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp, and Messenger - with a limited group of YouTubers.
In an attempt to give video creators more ways to express themselves and engage with fans, YouTube has unveiled its own take on Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories, where you can capture photos or videos, then decorate them with text, art, filters, and more, and broadcast them to followers via a stitched-together reel that'll play out like a story to viewers.
Though it's like other platforms' versions of Stories, there are some key differences with Reels. Most notably, Reels won't disappear after 24 hours or some other arbitrary amount of time.
The company describes Reels as "YouTube's spin on the popular "stories" format". First, Reels won't be a time-limit feature. We learned that you want the flexibility to create multiple Reels and have them not expire, so we'll give you those options.
Stories are coming to YouTube as part of expanded Community feature
Some people will likely bemoan the idea of Reels invading the YouTube experience. However, YouTube may start pushing Reels in your main tab if its detects user viewing Reels more often.
Reels are launching today but will only be available to creators with a minimum of 10,000 subscribers. We're also bringing creator-focused features like linking to YouTube videos and YouTube-y stickers.
You might be wondering what effect this will have on your day-to-day YouTube browsing. The stories however, will not appear at the top of the home feed page like Instagram.
Reels are expected to be initially rolled out soon for beta tests to a handful of YouTube creators. This new feature comes as a part of expanding YouTube Community to more creators. There's no word on a wider rollout just yet.