AI, podcasts and Shorts: YouTube CEO teases new features

2 Mar 2023

YouTube CEO Neal Mohan speaking at Collision 2017 in New Orleans. Image: Stephen McCarthy/Collision/Sportsfile (CC BY 2.0)

Neil Mohan said the platform is working on ways to let video creators virtually swap their outfits and create videos with generative AI.

YouTube’s new CEO Neil Mohan has revealed his priorities for the platform and some of the top features the company is working on.

Mohan took the new position last month when former CEO Susan Wojcicki stepped down after leading the company since 2014.

In a statement, Mohan said his broad focus for YouTube in 2023 is to support creators, protect the platform’s community and build “the YouTube of the future”.

One of the most interesting features Mohan teased is the integration of AI tools to let creators “expand their storytelling and raise production value”.

He said YouTube is developing new AI features that will let video creators virtually swap their outfits or create videos through generative AI.

AI systems have been a hot topic in recent months with the rise of ChatGPT. Big Tech companies such as Microsoft and Google have been racing to adopt AI models into their services.

Mohan’s announcement suggests YouTube will soon join this AI arms race and hinted that these new tools will be rolled out in the coming months.

“AI presents incredible creative opportunities, but must be balanced by responsible stewardship,” Mohan said. “We’re taking the time to develop these features with thoughtful guardrails.”

Podcasts and Shorts updates

Mohan also mentioned new improvements to the company’s Studio feature to make it easier for users to publish podcasts.

The CEO also said the platform will soon offer both audio and video-first podcasts for its YouTube Music users. This feature is planned for the US, with “more regions to come”.

Podcasts have grown into a popular medium in recent years, with other companies such as Spotify investing to get a strong share in the market. A 2022 report suggests the global podcast market will reach nearly $150bn in value by 2030.

YouTube also plans to update Shorts, the platform’s short-video creation feature it first announced in 2020 to compete with TikTok and Instagram.

“This year, we’ll roll out a creation tool that lets creators record a Short in a side-by-side layout with both Shorts and YouTube videos so they can easily add their own take on a trend or join in with reactions,” Mohan said.

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YouTube CEO Neal Mohan speaking at Collision 2017 in New Orleans. Image: Stephen McCarthy/Collision/Sportsfile via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic