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YouTube is finally getting a clipping feature

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YouTube is more than 4 years late to the clipping party

gray YouTube logo on the side of a building Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

YouTube is working on a clips feature that will allow creators and viewers to snip out brief segments of videos and livestreams for sharing across the internet, the company announced Thursday.

YouTube is currently testing clips in a “limited alpha” phase, the company said on its support site, making the feature available to “a small group of creators” as it gathers feedback from users, according to Jensen, community manager at YouTube. At the moment, it’s only possible to create clips via the YouTube Android app or on the desktop website, although Jensen said that support for the iOS app is “coming soon.”

While it’s currently limited, clipping on YouTube works fairly seamlessly. Viewers can select a “clip” button — represented by a scissors icon — next to the thumbs-up and thumbs-down buttons beneath a given video. Players can then scroll through a video to select a section, and fine-tune their clip via a panel to the right of the video. Clips can be as short as five seconds or as long as 60, and playback will loop endlessly. Hopeful YouTube clippers can use the announcement video as a test for all their clipping skills.

The feature’s most obvious uses come into play for gaming content. But Ryan Wyatt, head of gaming and commerce at YouTube, told Polygon that “ultimately, all products are made to be available to all people,” so clips won’t be limited to gaming streams or videos.

Once they’ve made their clip, viewers or creators can then share it on a variety of social sites or with a direct link. This feature comes extremely late for YouTube compared to its biggest competition, Twitch, which rolled out clips for all users in July 2016. Even Mixer, which launched in 2016 and was shut down last summer, began allowing users to create clips in 2018.