YouTube, the video-sharing website that turned Susan Boyle, a piano-playing cat and a little boy bitten by his brother into global internet sensations, is celebrating its fifth anniversary.
The landmark birthday comes less than a week after website bosses announced they had topped another milestone, with more than two billion video clips being viewed each day.
Five years on: YouTube’s Greatest Hits
Five years ago this month, the site launched with its first ever uploaded video: a 19-second clip of co-founder Jawed Karim talking about the elephants at San Diego Zoo.
Fast forward to today, and YouTube is home to a host of weird and wonderful videos – and has made household names out of singers Susan Boyle and Justin Bieber.
To mark the occasion, the site has launched a YouTube 5 Year channel devoted to the service’s history and its cultural influence.
Video journals, music clips
It features a “My YouTube Story” project compiling tales by people from around the world describing how the site has changed or shaped their lives.
A documentary filmmaker has chronicled stories ranging from an Iranian protester using the site to get news to the world to a man sharing a video journal of his battle with cancer.
“We never could have predicted what YouTube’s first five years would bring, and it’s difficult to imagine what the next five will look like,” the YouTube Team said.
YouTube was the brainchild of PayPal co-workers Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who founded the company in February 2005, launching a beta version of the site that May.
Just over a year later, search engine giant Google bought the site in a US$1.65 billion deal, transforming it into a stage for everything from home-movies to independent films.
“Whether you were an aspiring filmmaker, a politician, a proud parent, or someone who just wanted to connect with something bigger, YouTube became the place where you could broadcast yourself,” the company said.
In the time since the first video was uploaded, the website has rocketed to global stardom and become a key player in a shift to Internet television.
An average of 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube each minute in an amount of content equal to 150,000 full length films over the course of a week.
The site was started to provide bloggers a way to easily put video in their blogs, but blossomed into an online hotspot for people to share digitized snippets.
It has become a natural spot for users to upload controversial content, such as pornography or pirated snippets of television shows or films.
But it has also offered a springboard for unknowns to become international stars with home made videos showcasing wit, talent or just the incredibly odd.