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YouTube responds to the popular 'stories' trend from Snapchat and Facebook with a new product called 'Reels'

Jillian D'Onfro
Key Points
  • Google's video service, YouTube, is the latest tech company to adopt the "stories" format made popular by Snapchat and mimicked by Facebook
  • YouTube's Reels product is in beta-testing right now
Susan Wojcicki
Michael Newberg | CNBC

Google's YouTube is launching a new product called Reels that mirrors the "stories" format made popular by Snapchat and mimicked by Facebook and Instagram.

YouTube made the announcement as part of an expansion of its Community tools for popular video creators. A select group of YouTube content creators will be now be able to put together multiple mini-stories that give their fans a more personal or "behind-the-scenes" look aside from the videos they upload.

YouTube's Reels doesn't look exactly like Snapchat or Facebook's "story" products -- only creators with 10,000+ subscribers will be able to use the product whereas anyone can create Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook stories.

But the move underscores YouTube's continued attempt to become more social and community-oriented. Those efforts feel particularly urgent as rival Facebook has increasingly pushed its own video product to users. While YouTube was once the only obvious place for burgeoning video stars to make their mark, Facebook's wide reach and willingness to invest in content has the social networking site into an attractive video platform.

YouTube parent company Google has long struggled with social networking in general: Its main foray into the space, Google Plus, ended up getting dismantled and built back up several times.

Reels will appear on the Community tab of a creator's YouTube page.

Here's what an early version of the product will look like for Creators:

YouTube Handout