Amazon may have just launched its Direct service to compete with YouTube, but the latter’s upcoming feature widens its lead in the market yet again. As if it weren’t enough to
waste spend hours on YouTube actually watching videos, or even commenting on them, YouTube wants you to waste spend even more hours on its app chatting about those videos as well. Rolling out to a select few users at first is a new “native sharing” feature which is really just a fancy way of saying “YouTube Chat”.
Yes, YouTube is getting into the instant messaging biz. Well, not completely. But considering the amount of time people spend on YouTube these days, it’s might as well be. Technically, native sharing is, as the name suggests, an easier way to share video with people. That, however, can easily turn into conversations that can go on and on. And you won’t even have to leave the YouTube app. Or leave the discussion for that matter.
YouTube does already have ways to carry on a conversation through comments, but those are hardly ideal for flowing, real-time discussions. Native sharing will effectively turn YouTube into an instant messaging service, or at least something akin to Facebook and Twitter tweets that are private among a select group.
This new feature turns the tables on social networking services who are aggressively encroaching on YouTube’s sacred ground. Facebook, for example, has its own video hosting and sharing process exclusive to it, where users are able to have near real-time discussions all inside Facebook. The more YouTube is able to keep its users from leaving the site or app just to have a discussion, the less traffic its competitors will be able to generate.
This new YouTube native sharing feature is still in a very limited rollout. There is no word yet on when it will actually be officially announced or when it will reach the millions of YouTubers around the world. Only then will we be able to gauge how effective YouTube’s strategy will be.