Happy birthday YouTube

A screenshot from the first YouTube video,

A screenshot from the first YouTube video, "Me at the zoo" (2013 YouTube, LLC)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

Although it's still unclear how it makes any money, there is no doubting YouTube's cultural and creative impact since its launch in 2005.

While it didn't officially launch until November 2005, Thursday marks YouTube's eighth birthday. On Feb. 14, 2005, www.youtube.com was activated and three friends and former PayPal colleagues set to work building a site they hoped would make it easier for people to share video clips.

Co-founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim were by no means the first group of people to build a video hosting site, but they were the first to build a site that allowed anyone to upload, view, rate and comment on content. As such YouTube's growth and success has been so phenomenal that it has become an integral part of modern culture -- so much so that when Apple announced it was dropping the YouTube app on the iPhone there was mass panic and when a video uploaded by a certain South Korean pop star was viewed 1 billion times, its popularity made the global news headline.



The very first video uploaded to the site, "Me at the zoo," was done so on April 23, 2005 and featured Jawed Karim standing in front of some elephants and eulogizing their trunks. While it is the oldest video on the site and held up by cultural experts including Los Angeles Times writer Alex Pham, who said it "played a pivotal role in fundamentally altering how people consumed media and helped usher in a golden era of the 60-second video," to date it has only been viewed 9 million times.
However, "Charlie bit my finger - again!," a video about a one-year-old child biting his three-year-old brother's finger, has been watched over 500 million times since it was uploaded in 2007, making it the most popular user-generated video in the site's history.

Purchased by Google for $1.65 billion in Google stock in November 2006, YouTube today receives over 800 million unique visitors each month who watch over 4 billion hours of video. It supports 3D and 4K content, boasts 100 channels offering specially made content and even offers video rentals.


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