Neal Mohan, YouTube’s new chief, outlined his key priorities and promised some future features for the media platform in his first address to the community since taking over last month, reports The Verge. In his letter, Mohan begins by saying that he will “continue to put [creators] first” and lists some of the recent features added to the platform. It also teases one particularly interesting new feature: YouTube is developing generative AI tools for content creators.
“Creators will be able to expand their storytelling and raise their production value, from virtually swapping outfits to creating a fantastical film setting through AI’s generative capabilities,” said Mohan in a letter. “We’re taking the time to develop these features with thoughtful guardrails.”
YouTube didn’t provide any specific details about how these AI tools will work, but Mohan says they will be available to creators “in the coming months,” along with undisclosed safeguards to ensure the technology is used responsibly. This is probably alluding to measures aimed at countering the spread of deepfakes and disinformation.
Mohan also promised a big addition to YouTube Shorts. Later this year, YouTube will roll out a creation feature that allows users to record a Short in a side-by-side layout beside an existing YouTube video or Short, similar to TikTok’s Duet feature. The latter have become one of the platform’s most recognizable formats since its launch in 2018, so much so that Instagram released its own Reels variant in 2021, dubbed Reels Remix.
Following his predecessor Susan Wojcicki, who stepped down as YouTube CEO after nine years in the role, Mohan is taking the reins at a tumultuous time. Alphabet, YouTube’s parent company, reported that ad revenue for the platform plummeted by 8 percent year on year during the holiday quarter. YouTube has also been criticized for its crackdown on swearing in recent weeks, with creators expressing that the new profanity and content guidelines are too vague and harshly applied.