This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

Inspired by Janet Jackson’s Breast

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February 14, 2005: YouTube Launched

On this day the ever present video sharing site, YouTube, is launched. There have been few web sites have had such an immediate impact on our usage of the Internet. The popular website, was established by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, three former PayPal employees.

Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim

Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim

The company is based in San Bruno, California, and uses Adobe Flash Video and HTML5 technology to display a wide variety of user-generated video content, including movie clips, TV clips, and music videos, as well as amateur content such as video blogging, short original videos, educational videos and some just plain goofy stuff.

Inspired by Janet Jackson?janet-jackson-2004

Karim said that the inspiration for YouTube came from Janet Jackson’s breast. Or maybe better said, her role in the 2004 Super Bowl incident, when her breast was exposed during her performance. Karim could not easily find video clips of the event online, which led to the idea of a video sharing site. Hurley and Chen said that the original idea for YouTube was a video version of an online dating service, and had been influenced by the website Hot or Not.

The story often repeated in the media is that Hurley and Chen had experienced difficulty sharing videos that had been shot at a dinner party at Chen’s apartment in San Francisco. They then began developing the sharing idea for YouTube during the early months of 2005.

Karim did not attend the party and denied that it occurred while Chen later commented that the idea of YouTube being founded after a dinner party was probably a better marketing idea and more digestible than Janet Jackson’s breast.

With an upload every 20 minutes and over 1 Billion views a day, YouTube has definitely grown to a video powerhouse. In May 2010, it was reported that YouTube was serving more than two billion videos a day, which it described as “nearly double the prime-time audience of all three major US television networks combined”. In January 2012, YouTube stated that the figure had increased to four billion videos streamed per day.

Less than 2 years after its launch, Google paid $1.65 billion dollars to purchase it. Today, it only trails Facebook, Google, and Gmail as the most visited web sites in the world. Additionally, they created a new marketplace for the words “you” and “tube”.

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