The most popular video-hosting and video-sharing site, it is also currently the largest search engine after Google (incidentally, also owned by Google). Users can view, upload and comment on video content for no charge, though companies can pay for sponsored promotion of videos or to have enhanced branding and design capabilities on their profile pages, known as “channels.”
YouTube is a website designed for sharing video. Millions of users around the world have created accounts on the site that allow them to upload videos that anyone can watch. Every minute of every day, more than 35 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.
Video files can be very large and are often too big to send to someone else by email. By posting a video on YouTube, you can share a video simply by sending the other person a URL ‘link’ – that is, the ‘address’ of the relevant internet page.
When YouTube was created in 2005, it was intended for people to post and share original video content. But since then it’s also become both an archive for storing favorite clips, songs and jokes, as well as a marketing site for companies to promote their products.
Nowadays the term ‘viral video’ is common. This refers to a video clip that people have liked so much that they’ve shared its link by email with millions of others around the globe – in effect, it’s spread like a virus. Companies have realized that they can harness this ability to reach potential customers and have created their own YouTube accounts for posting advertisements and other marketing videos.
Film and television companies maintain a tight control over their own content and block illegal sharing of their programs. However, several now use YouTube to allow fans to see high-quality trailers or repeats of recently aired shows.
Key benefits and features of YouTube
- Create an account to share videos up to 15 minutes long with your family and friends. You can upload videos that are longer than 15 minutes if you follow steps to verify your account. There is a guide to doing this on the YouTube Help pages.
- Use the YouTube edit facility to create a movie with music and other features.
- Restrict who views your videos with YouTube’s privacy option.
- Search the archive for your favorite clips.
- Catch up with programs you’ve missed via ‘channels’ like 4oD, Channel 4’s playback channel.
- Comment on and rate movies you’ve watched.
- Watch a full-length feature film on your computer.
- Use YouTube’s caption and subtitle facilities and take advantage of its 3D and high-definition capability.
YouTube, LLC is an American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. Three former PayPal employees—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim—created the service in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion; YouTube now operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries.« Back to Glossary Index