In February 2005, three twenty-something graduates working for the online payment system Paypal created a video-hosting website, purportedly to share some footage shot at a dinner party, after the files were too big to send over email.
The site took off, and just over a year later, over 65,000 videos were being uploaded daily, prompting Google to acquire the site for $1.65bn – enough to carry them through a lawsuit filed against them by the Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corporation, owners of the domain name utube.com.
Now, videos on the site are being watched over a billion times a day, say the founders.
Chad Hurley, chief executive officer, said yesterday: "This is a great moment in our short history and we owe it all to you."
More than 20 hours of footage are now uploaded to the site every minute, making the world a smaller place, and its founders intergalactically rich.
Most viewed Top 10 videos
*1. Charlie bit my finger, again
Posted 21 May 2007; 126,143,311 views
Originally intended only for the boys' overseas godfather. Harry plays to the camera and puts his finger dangerously close to Charlie, who bites, and chuckles at his brother's pain.
*2. Susan Boyle – Singer – Britain's Got Talent 2009
Posted 11 April 2009; 76,778,272 views
Her singing was an instant web hit. Fame brought unbearable attention.
*3. Paul sings "Nessun Dorma"
Posted 10 June 2007; 57,570,265 views
Paul Potts, the tenor from Port Talbot, auditions for Britain's Got Talent.
*4. Sneezing baby panda
Posted 5 November 2006; 41,321,715 views
The baby panda makes its mother jump with a massive sneeze. The clip has been parodied in the cartoon show, South Park.
*5. Try to watch this without laughing
Posted 12 March 2007; 23,403,452 views
A man (or possibly a woman) in a Star Wars stormtrooper outfit performing pelvic thrusts for 53 seconds.
*6. Strangest (possibly creepiest) clip
Posted 28 March 2007; 22,922,391 views
A man with a massive jaw and no eyes gnashes his teeth like an angry Tyrannosarus Rex, and plays it on loop. Anyone who's ever looked into a bent sheet of metal may not be fooled.
*7 . Britain's Got Talent final, Paul Potts
Posted 16 June 2007; 20,146,171 views
This performance won him the show, a place at the Royal Variety Performance, and an album that sold more than 3 million copies.
*8. Dog Attack Shark
Posted 2 December 2006; 19,008,974 views
When a dog bites a man, it's not news, but when a dog bites a shark it's an internet sensation.
*9. Britain's Got Talent final, Connie Talbot
Posted 16 June 2007; 18,972,878 views
Connie Talbot. aged seven, lost to Paul Potts. She is about to release her third album.
*10 First Latch
Posted 4 December 2007; 18,689,572 views
Dr Jack Newman, of the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic, shows a "classic cradle-hold" and a baby "latching well" to his mother's breast.Reuse content