In Five Years, YouTube Has Revolutionized How We Live

In five years, YouTube has revolutionized the way we live.

ByABC News
May 12, 2010, 3:55 PM

May 12, 2010— -- It's a whole new world. One where a Canadian mom can post videos of her son, Justin Bieber, singing and turn him into a teen idol. One where the cell-phone video of a 26-year-old woman, Neda Agha-Soltan, shot dead at an Iranian protest can become the face of an uprising.

It's a world where a politician finds that loose lips ... make viral clips. (When Republican Sen. George Allen was caught on camera making an alleged racial slur, his 2006 reelection campaign never recovered.)

Twelve-year-old Greyson Michael Chance is the latest to find fame. His rendition of Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" from a middle school concert has jumped from 40,000 hits to over a million overnight.

It all wasn't possible before YouTube, the popular video-sharing site where clips get passed around to millions of people far and wide. Late last year, there were a billion video views on YouTube per day and the site is only reaching its fifth birthday.

That's right. Five years ago none of it existed. When the start-up launched in May 2005, it was housed above a pizza parlor. Google bought it in 2006 for $1.65 billion and now YouTube has a global headquarters in San Bruno, Calif., where management caters to hundreds of millions of users worldwide.

"Twenty-four hours of video [are] uploaded every minute," said Hunter Walk, director of product management. "In just the time we have been talking, we have multiple days of new video on the site."

That's simply astounding. But even more so is how this place works as a business. It's like a restaurant where customers cook the food for other customers -- and pay for the ingredients -- because all the video is our own home movies, our musical parodies, our stupid stunts.

As one of the founders and CEO Chad Hurley told me, YouTube makes the tools but the human race provides the content.

"We didn't know what was going to happen," he said. "We just knew that we wanted to create a site that we would enjoy and others would enjoy and the fact that people have the chance to do that kind of tells us something."