Unlocking YouTube: Best-Kept Secrets

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Our lives just would not be the same without YouTube. A virtual playground where we indulge in watching, learning, and sharing laughs. Yet, beneath its familiar interface lies a trove of lesser-known features and interesting facts. Curious to uncover them all? Well, consider yourself fortunate.

We are about to unveil 18 of the most intriguing revelations about this monumental platform!

1. The Origins of YouTube

Did you know that YouTube was initially intended to be a dating website? Yes, you read that right! The founders, former PayPal employees, dreamed of people uploading videos to find their perfect match. Despite their efforts, the dating concept flopped. The pivot to an all-encompassing video-sharing platform was a game-changer. It all started with a 19-second video of one of the founders standing at the zoo!

2. Mind-Blowing Video Milestones

YouTube has been a breeding ground for viral sensations. Remember the Nike ad featuring Ronaldinho that became the first video to hit a million views?

And how about the global phenomenon that was “Gangnam Style”? The first video that hit 1 billion views. It actually broke Youtube’s view counter. Nowadays, a video is allowed to get over 9 quintillion views!

What about the most-viewed video ever? Well, this position belongs to the popular “Baby Shark,” with almost 12 billion views. However, it’s “Despacito” that reigns as the most-liked video of all time. We are talking about over 50 million likes! The most searched term on YouTube? The Korean pop group, BTS.

3. YouTube’s Incredible Evolution

Behind the scenes, YouTube’s journey is a tale of remarkable growth. Initially an independent company, YouTube was acquired by Google in 2006, marking a pivotal moment in its history.

What’s truly astonishing is the contrast between YouTube’s humble beginnings and its current colossal stature. At the time of its acquisition, YouTube had a mere 65 employees and was valued at 1.65 billion dollars. Today, the platform has over 3,000 employees and a valuation inching towards 200 billion dollars.

4. The Unfathomable Scale of YouTube

The sheer scale of video content on YouTube is mind-boggling. Every single minute that passes, users upload a staggering 500 hours of content. Imagine if YouTube were to manually review each video before it went live. This hypothetical scenario would require a workforce of 30,000 employees working around the clock.

The most astounding statistic is this: if you were to attempt to watch every single YouTube video uploaded so far, it would take a staggering 200,000 years.

A person holding a mobile phone and watching YouTube.

5. From Record-Breaking Marathon Videos to YouTube’s 12-Hour Cap

Did you know that YouTube videos weren’t always capped at 12 hours? There’s a fascinating story behind this limit. A channel called “MoldytoasterMedia” created a video that holds the record for the longest video on YouTube, clocking in at 596.5 hours!

This feat drew YouTube’s attention, leading to the introduction of the 12-hour limit. The rationale was simple: most users wouldn’t watch videos of such extended lengths. Plus, YouTube wanted to manage its server costs. However, this cap doesn’t apply to live streams. While YouTube will save only 12 hours of the live stream, it won’t interrupt the stream if it surpasses this limit.

6. Secret YouTube Feature: Two Hidden Menus

When watching YouTube videos on your computer, there are 2 hidden menus. A single right-click opens up a menu with exciting options. You might have noticed the ability to loop a video, or to instantly copy the URL of the video to share.

However, the real gem here is the Picture-in-Picture (PiP) mode, accessible with a simple double right-click. This mode allows you to create a mini-window of the video that you can move around your desktop. Imagine watching a fascinating documentary or a music video while working on your projects or browsing the web. The PiP mode ensures that your video is always within view, even when you are multitasking.

Tip For YouTube Mobile Users

If you are mostly a mobile user, there’s something for you too. To full-screen a non-full-screen video on your mobile device, just swipe up. This intuitive gesture lets you immerse yourself in the video with ease. When you are ready to minimize the full-screen mode, a simple downward swipe brings you back to your regular viewing experience.

7. Evolving Rating Systems on YouTube

Over the years, YouTube has undergone many significant transformations, from its early rating systems to the features we know today.

It initially introduced a star-based rating system, where viewers could rate videos on a scale from one to five stars. The overall rating would be displayed in search results, giving users a quick preview of a video’s popularity before clicking on it. This system eventually gave way to the simpler “like” and “dislike” bars that we see today.

But here’s the interesting part: the transition from stars to the like counter wasn’t just about streamlining. YouTube’s algorithm has become incredibly sophisticated over time – learning from user behavior and preferences. This intelligence has allowed YouTube to accurately determine which videos are popular and relevant, rendering the manual user input of the star rating system unnecessary.

8. Video Responses

Remember the days when viewers could interact with videos by uploading video responses? These were essentially like comments but filmed on your own camera. It was a creative way to engage with content, but, as expected, it didn’t catch on. On average, video responses struggled with a minuscule click-through rate of 0.0004 %, leading YouTube to discontinue the feature.

The red YouTube buttons shown on the keyboard.

9. Annotations

There’s another feature many creators and viewers miss: annotations. In the past, if a mistake was made in a video, creators could seamlessly add a text box at a specific time code to correct it. This approach was far more convenient than the current process of deleting the video, making the changes, and re-uploading it.

Annotations were phased out, reportedly due to compatibility issues with mobile devices. Hopefully, there might be a way to reintroduce this feature while ensuring mobile-friendliness. Time will tell.

10. The Play Button Prestige – All you Need to Know

As YouTubers hit milestones in their subscriber count, YouTube rewards them with iconic play buttons: silver at 100,000 subs, gold at a million, and a diamond at 10 million. But there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Recently, YouTube has introduced an even rarer distinction, the custom play button, gifted to channels reaching 50 million subscribers, and an ultra-limited red and black diamond awarded at the remarkable 100 million milestone.

What these play buttons are made of?

It’s not all precious metals and gemstones as you might think. The silver play button is composed of nickel, carbon, and zinc – practical for the sheer number of creators hitting this milestone. The gold play button comes with a hollow brass construction, and a genuine layer of 24-karat gold, offering a touch of prestige. And for the ultimate achievement of 10 million subscribers, the diamond play button isn’t hollow; it’s a solid, thick metal slab coated in real silver. No, it’s not adorned with a real diamond, but the symbolism of this achievement shines brighter than any gem!

Can I buy extra play buttons?

The opportunity to buy extra play buttons for your team is an appealing option, but it comes at a cost. While the diamond play button’s raw materials may tally to around a hundred dollars, obtaining these prestigious awards carries a price tag, with each diamond play button setting you back $3,700.

11. The Secret Perk for YouTube Premium Subscribers

If you are a YouTube Premium subscriber, here’s a hidden treasure for you: the secret page at youtube.com/new. This exclusive page gives Premium subscribers the chance to try out experimental features that YouTube is working on before anyone else.

They value your feedback so much that they are ready to pay you for completing surveys about these new features. It’s a fantastic way to be at the forefront of YouTube’s innovation while getting rewarded for your input.

A group of YouTubers making a video content.

12. The 301 View Freeze Mystery

Have you ever noticed something odd about YouTube views? There’s a perplexing quirk that once left creators scratching their heads: the 301 view freeze.

Back in the day, when a video hit 301 views, the count would halt for several hours before it resumed. It was like a digital pause button at the exact moment of 301 views.

A fascinating video by the channel ‘Numberphile’ delved into this very mystery. The video itself cleverly boasts precisely 301 views with an astounding 3.3 million likes – a playful nod from YouTube, perhaps? It’s a quirky way the platform managed to troll everyone, keeping us all curious about the enigma of the 301 view freeze.

13. “a zero with non-joiner”

Have you ever seen a video on YouTube that mysteriously lacks a description and even a title? How does this video exist without a title, you ask?

YouTube technically doesn’t allow it, but there’s a sneaky loophole involving a character called “a zero with non-joiner.” This character, when used solo, becomes invisible, granting creators the ability to post a video with no visible title. It’s like a hidden treasure amidst the platform’s rules.

14. YouTube Navigation

On a computer, the standard arrow keys can help you navigate forward and backward five seconds at a time, but there’s a lesser-known secret: the angle bracket keys. These keys allow you to move forward or backward one frame at a time.

15. Share a Specific Part of a Video

Sharing a specific part of a video with a friend has never been easier. If you want to direct them to a particular moment, simply add “&t=” followed by the timestamp to the end of the video’s URL.

This custom URL trick will teleport them directly to that exact point in the video. It’s a fantastic feature that lets you share the most relevant parts of a video.

A laptop with YouTube page open.

Optimize Your Videos For YouTube

16. YouTube’s Global Landscape

While YouTube is a global platform, there are some places where it’s not accessible. Countries like Iran, China, North Korea, Eritrea, and Turkmenistan have chosen to ban YouTube to control Western cultural influence. It’s a reminder of the varying digital landscapes across the world, with different regions opting for distinct online ecosystems.

17. The Origins of “Rick Rolling”

You might have come across the term “Rick Rolling” while navigating the vast internet landscape. This playful online trick involves tricking someone into clicking a link, only to be greeted by Rick Astley’s iconic song “Never Gonna Give You Up” on YouTube.

But, have you ever wondered how this 15-year-old internet tradition began? It all traces back to 2007 when the world eagerly awaited the first-ever trailer for Grand Theft Auto 4. The high demand caused the official website to crash, leading users to share re-uploaded copies. Well, one user decided to send unsuspecting viewers to Rick Astley’s masterpiece from the 80s. This cheeky act struck a balance between annoyance and hilarity. 🙂

18. Most Played Playlist on YouTube

When you think of the most viewed playlists on YouTube, you probably imagine top music tracks or relaxing videos to unwind. But, the actual champion might surprise you.

The playlist titled “Clean Vines for the Children of Jesus” has garnered a staggering 3.6 billion playlist views, making it the unexpected front-runner. This a good reminder that YouTube’s popularity spans across various genres and audiences.

In Conclusion

From its unconventional origins to its hidden features and astounding statistics, in this article, we have: journeyed through the evolution of YouTube, marveled at viral triumphs, and uncovered the quirky tricks that dot the platform.

As we part ways, remember, the next time you click on a video, you’re diving into a sea of infinite possibilities, where 500 hours of new content await every single minute.

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