PSY’s Gangnam Style hit has broken YouTube. Google announced this week that it had been forced to do an upgrade on the site due to the number of views that the video has gained. According to reports, it has received more than two billion views.
YouTube originally only had a 32-bit integer for view counts. That meant the view counter would only go up to 2,417,483,647 views. The 2012 video has surpassed that number, and caused a problem for the website. Despite there being so many popular videos out there, Google never expected one video to reach that, but has now been proven wrong. It just shows how popular one single can be.
On Wednesday morning, Gangnam Style gained over 2,152,512,000 views. Luckily, the team were ready for this to happen after watching the view counter increasing considerably. The developers had a 64-bit view counter ready to go, but Google did not release it until it was necessary. With the new counter, it is now possible for over 9 quintillion views. That means a video can receive up to 9,223,372,036,775,808 until YouTube breaks again. It is not likely that that will happen anytime soon.
However, it is clear that a high number is not impossible. There were mixed reactions when the announcement of the new counter came. Many fans belittled the developers for suggesting that reaching the 32-bit limit was impossible. Of course, nobody said that it was not possible but that it was not expected. All this led to Gangnam Style breaking YouTube.
According to Matt McLernon, a Google spokesman, the site did not actually break. It was more of “fun with the language” and nothing actually went wrong with the view counter. However, it was not able to continue counting until the upgrade was added to the site.
Gangnam Style by PSY was released in July 2012. It quickly became a hit, despite the South Korean language and the absurd video. It may be the absurd video that led to it being the most-watched of all time. It was also the first to reach one billion views, despite YouTube being around for almost a decade. YouTube was founded in February 2005.
As well as upgrading the counter, the YouTube developers had some fun with coding. Viewers were encouraged to hover over the view counter on the Gangnam Style video. Once that happens, the numbers spin back and forth and land on a negative figure presumably to show how much over the 32-bit algorithm is it over.
Some now wonder how long it will take for Gangnam Style to break the new view counter. One estimate states that it will take four billion years to reach the 9 quintillion rate. That does depend on whether people continually refresh the video now just to see if it can be broken.
It is not uncommon for YouTube to make changes and upgrades to its system. However, this is the first time in almost a decade that it has changed the view counter. Gangnam Style broke YouTube because nobody was ever expecting a video to be watched so many times.
By Alexandria Ingham