YouTube began a beta of its Shorts video service in the US, as it looks to enhance its play in the growingly competitive segment dominated by Chinese rival TikTok.

In a blog, the Google subsidiary said the feature is available to some US users from today (18 March), with expansion planned in the coming weeks.

Users in the US will be able to use new features including the ability to add text to specific parts of a video and creating sample audio from other Shorts content.

The company also plans to expand its music catalogues and to add an option for content creators to use audio from YouTube videos.

YouTube launched a beta of Shorts in India in September 2020: it said daily views now total 6.5 billion and the number of users uploading content has more than tripled since the start of December.

Apptopia estimated key rival TikTok was the most-downloaded social media app in the US in 2020 with 89 million installations, despite regulatory hurdles.

Other competitors include Byte, Instragram’s Reels and Triller.