How 'Gangnam Style' Broke YouTube
"We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer," developers for the platform said.
You might not still be watching the "Gangnam Style" video, but there are people out there who are still watching the "Gangnam Style" video. Because of them, if not because of you, "Gangnam Style" has exceeded YouTube's wildest expectations.
Literally. YouTube developers built their platform on a 32-bit register, meaning that YouTube could track a range of -2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647 values for its view counter. Since one cannot, unfortunately, register a negative view on YouTube, this translated to a view-tracking capability of nearly 2.15 billion.
"We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer," YouTube said in a Google+ post, "but that was before we met PSY."
This summer, "Gangnam Style" surpassed the 2-billion-view marker. And, this week, it hit the magic (and also not-at-all magic) number. This was inevitable, given the long tail of video views, and YouTube engineers were expecting it. (So much so that they included a little Easter egg in the video: "Hover over the counter in PSY's video," the blog post advises, "to see a little math magic.") YouTube has now upgraded to a 64-bit integer—meaning that the maximum views a video can receive is now a whopping 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. Your move, Wang Rong Rollin.