Without a doubt the most useful site that i use is YouTube.
YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips. YouTube was created in February 2005 by three former PayPal employees. In November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc. for US$1.65 billion, and is now operated as a subsidiary of Google. The company is based in San Bruno, California, and uses Adobe Flash Video 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 and short original videos. Most of the content on YouTube has been uploaded by members of the public, although media organizations including CBS and the BBC offer some of their material via the site.
Unregistered users can watch the videos, while registered users are permitted to upload an unlimited number of videos. Videos that are considered to contain potentially offensive content are available only to registered users over the age of 18. The uploading of videos containing defamation, commercial advertisements, copyright violations, and material encouraging criminal conduct is prohibited by YouTube's terms of service.
Main article: History of YouTube
YouTube company headquarters in San Bruno, California
YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who were all early employees of PayPal. Hurley studied design at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, while Chen and Karim studied computer science together at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
According to a story that has often been repeated in the media, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen developed the idea for YouTube during the early months of 2005, after they had experienced difficulty sharing videos that had been shot at a dinner party at Chen's apartment in San Francisco. Jawed Karim did not attend the party and denied that it had occurred, and Chad Hurley commented that the idea that YouTube was founded after a dinner party "was probably very strengthened by marketing ideas around creating a story that was very digestible."
YouTube began as an angel funded technology startup, with help including a US$11.5 million investment by Sequoia Capital between November 2005 and April 2006. YouTube's early headquarters were situated above a pizzeria and Japanese restaurant in San Mateo, California. The domain name
www.youtube.com was activated on February 15, 2005, and the website was developed over the subsequent months. The choice of the domain name
www.youtube.com led to problems for a similarly named website,
www.utube.com. The owner of the site, Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment, filed a lawsuit against YouTube in November 2006 after being overloaded on a regular basis by people looking for YouTube. Universal Tube has since changed the name of its website to
YouTube offered the public a beta test of the site in May 2005, six months before the official launch in November 2005. The site grew rapidly, and in July 2006 the company announced that more than 65,000 new videos were being uploaded every day, and that the site was receiving 100 million video views per day. According to data published by market research company comScore, YouTube is the dominant provider of online video in the United States, with a market share of around 44 percent and more than five billion videos viewed in July 2008. It is estimated that 13 hours of new videos are uploaded to the site every minute, and that in 2007 YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet in 2000. In March 2008, YouTube's bandwidth costs were estimated at approximately US$1 million a day. Alexa ranks YouTube as the third most visited website on the Internet, behind Yahoo! and Google.
In October 2006, Google Inc. announced that it had acquired YouTube for US$1.65 billion in Google stock, and the deal was finalized on November 13, 2006. Google does not provide detailed figures for YouTube's running costs, and YouTube's revenues in 2007 were noted as "not material" in a regulatory filing. In June 2008 a Forbes magazine article projected the 2008 revenue at US$200 million, noting progress in advertising sales.
In November 2008, YouTube reached an agreement with MGM, Lions Gate Entertainment and CBS which will allow the companies to post full-length films and television shows on the site, accompanied by advertisements. The move is intended to create competition with websites such as Hulu, which features material from both NBC and Fox.
Main article: Social impact of YouTube
Before the launch of YouTube in 2005, there were few simple methods available for ordinary computer users who wanted to post videos online. With its easy to use interface, YouTube made it possible for anyone who could use a computer to post a video that millions of people could watch within a few minutes. The wide range of topics covered by YouTube has turned video sharing into one of the most important parts of Internet culture.
An early example of the social impact of YouTube was the success of the Bus Uncle video in 2006. It shows an animated conversation between a youth and an older man on a bus in Hong Kong, and was discussed widely in the mainstream media. Another YouTube video to receive extensive coverage is guitar, which features a performance of Pachelbel's Canon on an electric guitar. The name of the performer is not given in the video, and after it received millions of views The New York Times revealed the identity of the guitarist as Jeong-Hyun Lim, a 23-year-old from South Korea who had recorded the track in his bedroom.
Main article: Criticism of YouTube
YouTube has been criticized frequently for failing to ensure that its online content adheres to the law of copyright. At the time of uploading a video, YouTube users are shown a screen with the following message:
Do not upload any TV shows, music videos, music concerts or commercials without permission unless they consist entirely of content you created yourself. The Copyright Tips page and the Community Guidelines can help you determine whether your video infringes someone else's copyright.
Despite this advice, there are still many unauthorized clips from television shows, films and music videos on YouTube. YouTube does not view videos before they are posted online, and it is left to copyright holders to issue a takedown notice under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Organizations including Viacom and the English Premier League have issued lawsuits against YouTube, claiming that it has done too little to prevent the uploading of copyrighted material. Viacom, demanding US$1 billion in damages, said that it had found more than 150,000 unauthorized clips of its material on YouTube that had been viewed "an astounding 1.5 billion times". YouTube responded by stating that it "goes far beyond its legal obligations in assisting content owners to protect their works". Since Viacom issued its lawsuit, YouTube has introduced a system called Video ID, which checks uploaded videos against a database of copyrighted content with the aim of reducing violations.
In August 2008, a U.S. court ruled that copyright holders cannot order the removal of an online file without first determining whether the posting reflected fair use of the material. The case involved Stephanie Lenz from Gallitzin, Pennsylvania, who had made a home video of her 13-month-old son dancing to Prince's song "Let's Go Crazy" and posted the 29-second video on YouTube.
In July 2008, Viacom won a court ruling requiring YouTube to hand over data detailing the viewing habits of every user who has watched videos on the site. The move led to concerns that the viewing habits of individual users could be identified through a combination of their IP addresses and login names. The decision was criticized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the court ruling "a set-back to privacy rights". U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton dismissed the privacy concerns as "speculative", and ordered YouTube to hand over documents totalling around 12 terabytes of data. Judge Stanton rejected Viacom's request for YouTube to hand over the source code of its search engine system, saying that there was no evidence that YouTube treated videos infringing copyright differently.
YouTube has also faced criticism over the offensive content in some of its videos. Although YouTube's terms of service forbid the uploading of material likely to be considered inappropriate, the inability to check all videos before they go online means that occasional lapses are inevitable. Controversial areas for videos have included Holocaust denial and the Hillsborough Disaster, in which 96 football fans from Liverpool were crushed to death in 1989.
YouTube relies on its users to flag the content of videos as inappropriate, and a member of staff will view a flagged video to determine whether it violates the site's terms of service. In July 2008 the Culture and Media Committee of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom stated that it was "unimpressed" with YouTube's system for policing its videos, and argued that "Proactive review of content should be standard practice for sites hosting user generated content." YouTube responded by stating: "We have strict rules on what's allowed, and a system that enables anyone who sees inappropriate content to report it to our 24/7 review team and have it dealt with promptly. We educate our community on the rules and include a direct link from every YouTube page to make this process as easy as possible for our users. Given the volume of content uploaded on our site, we think this is by far the most effective way to make sure that the tiny minority of videos that break the rules come down quickly."
Main article: Blocking of YouTube
Several countries have blocked access to YouTube since its inception, including China, Iran, Morocco, and Thailand. YouTube is currently blocked in Turkey after controversy over videos deemed insulting to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Despite the block, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan admitted to journalists that he could access YouTube, since the site is still available in Turkey by using an open proxy.
On February 23, 2008, Pakistan blocked YouTube due to "offensive material" towards the Islamic faith, including display of the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. This led to a near global blackout of the YouTube site for around two hours. The block was lifted on February 26, 2008. Many Pakistanis circumvented the three day block by using Virtual Private Network software.
YouTube's video playback technology for web users is based on the Adobe Flash Player. This allows the site to display videos with quality comparable to more established video playback technologies (such as Windows Media Player, QuickTime, and RealPlayer) that generally require the user to download and install a web browser plug-in in order to view video. Viewing Flash video also requires a plug-in, but market research from Adobe Systems has found that its Flash plug-in is installed on over 95% of personal computers.
Videos uploaded to YouTube are limited to ten minutes in length and a file size of 1 GB. When YouTube was launched in 2005, it was possible for any user to upload videos longer than ten minutes, but YouTube's help section now states: "You can no longer upload videos longer than ten minutes regardless of what type of account you have. Users who had previously been allowed to upload longer content still retain this ability, so you may occasionally see videos that are longer than ten minutes." The ten minute limit was introduced in March 2006, after YouTube found that the majority of videos exceeding this length were unauthorized uploads of television shows and films.
Comparison of high and normal quality YouTube videos (480x360 and 320x240 pixels) played in their native size.
YouTube's videos are distributed through streaming media technology in a range of formats, with the video and audio quality dependent on the platform. YouTube's website interface offers users the choice of two quality levels, normal and high, both of which are based on the Flash Video container format. These videos are Sorenson Spark H.263 encoded, with the audio in mono MP3 format. The normal quality videos have a resolution of 320x240 pixels and have been in use since the launch of the site in 2005, while the high quality videos launched in March 2008 have a resolution of 480x360 pixels. YouTube chooses which videos are made available in the high quality format by analyzing the quality of the uploaded videos. YouTube's high quality videos are also available in H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format with stereo AAC audio. The MPEG-4 videos can be played by adding "&fmt=18" to the web address of a video.
Widescreen and HD videos
In late November 2008, YouTube changed the aspect ratio of its web video player from the traditional 4:3 to the widescreen 16:9. This is applied to all videos, so the 4:3 videos are screened in a pillarbox format.
It was also announced in November 2008 that YouTube now offers some of its videos in true HD format, with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels. Videos uploaded with 720 pixel resolution can be viewed in this format by selecting the "watch in HD" option, or by adding "&fmt=22" to the web address.
Format and quality comparison tableComparison of YouTube media types
Video bitrate (kbit/s)
Audio max bitrate (kbit/s)
Audio sampling rate (Hz)
YouTube accepts common video file formats and converts them to Flash Video in order to make them available for online viewing. Since June 2007, newly uploaded videos have also been encoded using the H.264 video standard to enable streaming of YouTube videos on devices that support H.264 streaming.
Each YouTube video is accompanied by a piece of HTML markup which can be used to link to the video or embed it on a page outside the YouTube website, unless the submitter of a video chooses to disable the feature. A small addition to the markup allows the video to play automatically when the webpage loads. These options are especially popular with users of social networking sites. YouTube videos can also be accessed via a gadget which is available for the iGoogle homepage.
YouTube videos are designed to be viewed while connected to the Internet, and no official feature allows for them to be downloaded and viewed offline. However, a number of third-party web sites, applications, including Free Download Manager and browser extensions, such as Firefox extensions, exist for this purpose. Alternatively, when using Internet Explorer, .flv files can be copied from the 'Temporary Internet Files' folder in Windows, or the /tmp directory in GNU systems, to a permanent folder. The .flv files can then be viewed and edited directly or converted to other formats using various applications.
YouTube launched its mobile site, YouTube Mobile on June 15, 2007. It is based on xHTML and uses 3GP videos with H.263/AMR codec and RTSP streaming. It is available via a web interface at m.youtube.com or via YouTube's Mobile Java Application.
The YouTube TV Channel is on Information TV 2, and it started January 7, 2008. The channel is airing video sharing content from the YouTube website.
On Apple TV, iPhone, and iPod Touch
Apple Inc. announced on June 20, 2007 that YouTube is accessible on the Apple TV after installation of a free software update. Functionality includes browsing by category, searching videos, and the ability for members to log onto their YouTube accounts directly on Apple TV. Access to thousands of the most current and popular YouTube videos are available, and there were plans to add thousands more videos each week. The entire catalog was targeted to be available in fall 2007. According to Apple VP David Moody, the reason for the delay was the need for all current YouTube content to be transcoded to Apple's preferred video standard, H.264.
Videos on YouTube for the iPhone are encoded in Apple's preferred H.264 format. All videos are viewed in the horizontal orientation of the phone. As YouTube videos have 4:3 aspect ratio and the iPhone is 3:2, videos must be viewed with black bars on the side (Pillar Boxed) or may be zoomed to trim some of the top and bottom to fill the screen.
Not all videos were available on iPhone initially because not every video was reencoded to H.264. There are two versions of each video on YouTube, one is higher bandwidth for Wi-Fi use, and one is lower resolution for EDGE or 3G use.
Unlike the Apple TV version, users cannot log in to their own YouTube accounts, but can create a separate favorites list just for the iPhone.
In June 2008, YouTube launched a beta test of Annotations, which can display notes or links within a video. Annotations allow for information to be added, for example stories with multiple possibilities (viewers click to choose the next scene), and links to other YouTube videos. Initially, annotations would not appear on videos embedded outside the YouTube website, but as of August 2008[update], it is now available on embedded movies.
Type of site
Video hosting service
(required to upload, rate, and comment on videos)
February 15, 2005 (2005-02-15)