How Does YouTube Work?

In recent years, YouTube has become an internet sensation, attracting millions of years every day, and with a growing following, and more technological advances, YouTube is poised to become one of the most influential websites on the internet. What is YouTube, you may ask? The idea behind YouTube is actually a fairly simple one. YouTube is designed to allow users to upload their own video content and also watch the videos that others users post. However, one of the most amazing things about YouTube is the fact that it is completely free for users to watch any video on the website, and users have an unlimited amount of content that they can upload. YouTube also offers users the ability to embed videos in other sources. This means that a video on YouTube can be put onto other sources and played in that manner. Of course, one can see the obvious advantage for bloggers and those who own and maintain their own websites. Even casual internet users have the capacity to enjoy YouTube through the website’s easy to navigate view. While YouTube has become very, very popular, many people are still somewhat unaware of how the website actually works. One of the best features about YouTube, and one of the things which has gained the website so much popularity is the way in which videos are played smoothly and continuously, without long waiting times or excessive download times. As any visitor to YouTube may realize, to watch a video online, a person does not have to download the entire video and then find an appropriate player to watch it. Rather, the videos are delivered to the user as “streaming” content, and important leap forward for a website, as YouTube was one of the first websites to truly integrate streaming videos as an important content piece. However, the question remains as to what exactly “streaming video” is. With streaming video, when a video is being played on YouTube, it is being transferred to the watcher bit by bit, basically as fast as the person watches the video, more pieces of it are available for viewing. This allows even computers which access the internet at a low speed to view videos without long wait times for visitors. The fact that YouTube offers streaming video is one of the major factors that has made the website so popular, and keeps users going back. For, without long download times and technical specifications as to which computers and internet connections can use the site, anyone is free to watch YouTube anytime, meaning that the website can enjoy almost unlimited traffic without clogging their servers or subjecting users to a long and unsightly wait time to watch their favorite videos. Another important YouTube feature that many may have not actually noticed is the fact that YouTube just works, without finding a host of other programs and applications to watch the videos. Those who have tried to watch videos from other websites and sources have likely discovered that it can sometimes be an impossible task to do nothing more than watch a several minute video clip. So, how exactly does YouTube make sure that all of there videos work for almost every user almost all of the time? The answer is that instead of allowing users to upload their videos in whatever format they choose, YouTube hosts all videos through what is known as a “Flash Player”. Flash is similar to other programs such as Windows Media and Quicktime, but it has several features which make a much better choice for a website such as YouTube. Mainly, Flash operates on a universal code, and a much simpler one at that. This is the reason why YouTube videos sometimes seem to be a bit lacking in overall quality, they are not the size and scope of a Quicktime video, but they are also much easier to play. Another benefit of Flash is that most web browsers have the program built right in, or are able to acquire it with minimal effort, and sometimes no input from the user whatsoever. All of this put together simply means that nearly every user with an up to date browser is able to watch YouTube videos whenever they want to, without downloading a massive list of other programs or extensions. YouTube is a revolutionary idea for many reasons, however, it is perhaps the technical specifics of the website which have made it so popular in today’s culture. YouTube is one of the most popular sites on the internet, and enjoys millions upon millions of hits each day. All of this traffic is definitely due in part to the technology that YouTube uses in order to make its videos available so fast, and to such a universal amount of users. With YouTube now becoming a primary target for politicians and ad campaigns, it is very unlikely that the website, which has become an icon of popular culture, is going anywhere soon. However, at least now when we log onto YouTube to watch our favorite videos, we will have just a little bit more appreciation for how such content is brought to us.