The surprisingly similar origin of Youtube and Facebook

by Atiya
July 22, 2019

Have you ever wondered how YouTube got its name?  Probably not.  Here’s YouTube’s background story, anyway, as told by Steve Chen.

Over a decade ago, Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim started off as “just three guys who had nothing to do on Valentines Day”.  They had the technology to make it easy for people to upload videos online, and were looking for a way to use it.

We always thought there was something with video there, but what would be the actual practical application?

The practical application they initially agreed on wasn’t for music videos, fails or cat videos- but to facilitate online relationships.

We thought dating would be the obvious choice.  The idea was for single people to make videos introducing themselves and saying what they were looking for.

Considering that over a decade ago, people were very sceptical about online dating, and uploading your face online- it was destined for failure.  Long story short, they waited five days and not one person uploaded a video.  So it was back to the drawing board for the 3 men, who realised that a dating site isn’t going to get them very far.

Okay, forget the dating aspect, let’s just open it up to any video.

Hoping to create some momentum, Jawed Karim uploaded a video of himself at the zoo.  Here’s YouTube’s very first video, from the 23rd April 2005.

YouTube player

Despite Justin Bieber, YouTube attracted many talented artists; and as a result, blossomed into the world’s biggest video-sharing platform, with 1 billion regular monthly visitors.

Since Google bought YouTube for $1.6 billion in 2006, the service has expanded to include a subscription site- YouTube Red, which is now available in over 60 countries.  There’s also a dedicated gaming site, where you can watch live streams and other game-related videos.

Last week, Steve Chen and Vijay Karunamurthy, early engineering manager at YouTube, launched their new food-dedicated, live video site.  The app gives chefs and foodies alike a platform -that’s not Instagram- to share their creations; because who doesn’t love documenting their food?

With Facebook sharing a similar backstory, could it be that creating an unsuccessful dating site is the gateway to achieving a prosperous social platform?  Again, probably not.

Source: CNet

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