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YouTube is the world's leading source of online video content (by volume). It is not the first online video site, but it is certainly the first to build an extremely strong community around its brand, and as a result has experienced the benefits of Network Externalities. [1]

YouTube celebrated it's 5th birthday on May 16, 2010

YouTube Architecture

YouTube follows a variation of the traditional LAMP Platform[2]:

  1. Linux (SuSe)
  2. Apache
  3. MySQL
  4. Python
  5. psyco, a dynamic python->C compiler
  6. lighttpd for video instead of Apache

YouTube Features

Embeddable Player

The immense popularity of YouTube' and particularly the fast viral spread of its widespread use and adoption has long been attributed to (apart from its simple and catchy brand name) the ability to embed videos uploaded to its platform simply and easily. The embedded YouTube player has been the source of inspiration for hundreds of other online video initiatives. The embedded player itself owes much to the Flash ecosystem and W3C-developed open web standards for Object Embeds. Before YouTube got the formula exactly right, it may have been possible to embed video content from other sites but implementations were extremely fragmented and the user experience varied greatly from site to site. The other big attraction to YouTube's particular embeddable player was the ability to easily customize several properties, listed below:

hlLanguage of video metadata
fsFullScreen allowed (or not)
autoplayWhether to auto-start a video on (page/embed) load or not (wait for user to hit play button)
widthVideo's width (in pixels)
heightVideo's height (in pixels)
Sample video:
<object width="425" height="349">
  <param name="movie" value=""></param>
  <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param>
  <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param>
    <embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="349"></embed>

UPDATE: YouTube's embed code has changed since the introduction of their HTML5 video player. It now utilizes an iFrame as follows (same video as above in new embed):

<iframe title="YouTube video player" width="425" height="349"
 src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

For a (possibly limited) time you can still utilize the old embed code, however your embed will be limited to the Flash-only version (which itself has code to detect Mobile devices so for supported devices it will replace the embed with a 3GP or MP4; both the iFrame and Object Embed embeddable players have this capability, so most users are switching to the simpler iFrame method).[3][4]


Playlists were an early favorite of earl-adopters, however criticism was drawn for YouTube not supporting Data Portability and similar iniatives or open data formats (i.e. XSPF, RSS) thereby locking users' data into YouTube in the initial stages of the company's development. YouTube has removed access to your playlists from your main profile page, however for a (possibly limited) time you can still access them at the URL below and via the Playlist API:


A YouTube Channel is now synonymous with a YouTube account. Every user on YouTube has their own private channel which contains any number (0..n) videos uploaded by that user. From a user's channel, you can also access videos favorited or commented on by that user. If they make them public you can also access videos viewed by that user. The existence of a common user channel experience and the ability to personalize your YouTube channel (i.e. look&feel, background/images, links on left-hand-side, etc) were major draws to YouTube over other video-sharing services.

EXAMPLE - BCmoney Channel


Subscriptions allow you to track an individual user and get notified in your YouTube account, by email, or other means (such as hooking into your Twitter feed or Social Network.

EXAMPLE - My Subscriptions area (access users you are subscribed to)

Video Responses

Video Responses offered another viral element to the already rich feature-set of YouTube. They were a response to the increasing popularity of services like Seesmic, which allowed Video commenting on blogs and sites.

EXAMPLE - Video with some Video Responses


Also known as scrubbing, jumpspots give users the ability to link to a specific point in the video. EXAMPLE:


Annotations were a response to popular services like Asterix which allowed video publishers to highlight select sections of their videos and offer pop-up text (in the style of [Much Music's "pop-up video"]).

EXAMPLE - Annotate one of your own videos:

EXAMPLE - Remove Annotations from embedded videos:



Captions offer the opportunity to those who can't hear to read text along with the video to provide more accessibility of content. YouTube was frequently criticized for their lack of accessibility but a major update in 2008 was meant to appease these complaints.


In addition to the complaints about lack of accessibility, there was major criticism on YouTube's being slow to add internationalization and translation services, but in 2009 they also made a major update which saw translations of the site into many more languages, and which eventually (2010) allowed Subtitles to be added to videos in much the same way as Captions.

YouTube Mobile

YouTube's first attempt at a mobile-specific version of their site that supported streaming video over a mobile network to various mobile devices launched in June 2007.[8]

YouTube TV

[10] [11] [12]

YouTube LIVE

YouTube has experimented with live broadcasts[13] since its first YouTube LIVE[14] broadcast in November, 2008[15] and its founders have had live video on the roadmap since its founding.[16] Some of the most notable streamed events were an October, 2009 U2 concert[17], Outside Lands 2009[18], a full-length viewing of Taxi Driver with live tweets[19], several of Barack Obama's Sate of the Union addresses[20][21] and Press Conferences[22], and Coacella Festival 2011[23].

In April, 2011 YouTube LIVE was launched as the official Live Streaming service for select content partners.[24][25]


SendToTV is a feature that allows you to transmit or queue up a video from your (Android) smartphone to your (Google TV-compatible) television set. That video can be either assigned to play next or set to play immediately.

YouTube Kids


Business Model


Like its parent company Google, advertising is a major source of revenue. As of 2010, YouTube generated



Google has long made it known about its intentions to offer full-length films as paid downloads or possibly under a subscription model (similar to NetFlix). Now, YouTube Movies was launched to realize this vision.

YouTube API


Apart from using the official Zend YouTube gdata API, you can access raw feeds as follows:

VIDEO info (including different stream versions):

MOBILE "Top Videos":[link/@rel=%27]&format=6



YouTube Lawsuits

Since such a large percentage of the content on YouTube is clips of copyrighted material, there has been much controversy since its inception. As a result, many companies have threatened lawsuits and sent YouTube management takedown notices asking for them to remove their content, and several have actually followed through beyond such requests with legal action.


Viacom has been one of the largest corporations to take on YouTube. Their claim dates back to when YouTube was first growing, claiming that the Online Video portal gained notariety and rose to fame on the back of much of Viacom's content, whether in full or clipped format.[31]

UK Football Association

The UK Football Association is suing YouTube for allegedly illegal use of sports highlights, and are back by a group of other copyright holders ranging from sports to news to music and other mainstream media outlets.[32]



What's MobiTubia? MobiTubia is Flash Video (FLV) Player and Full-Function YouTube portal application with real-time decoding for Series 60 3rd Edition devices. User interface was neatly designed to be luxurious look. More than YouTube client application you will get. I am so pleased to give you the new experience of symbian application. Enjoy it!

Key Features - View Offline FLV file (.flv file in device) - View Online FLV file (access via http://...) - Full-Functions YouTube - Recently Featured - View featured videos listed in homepage - Popular Clips of the Day, of the Week, of the Month and Overall - Clips Search - Search through YouTube clips by Tag - View by YouTube ID - Enter 11-digit YouTube ID and MobiTubia will play that clip for you - Open Web Clip - Enter url of webpage embedded with YouTube clips and MobiTubia will display all available clips - Lot of Customization Options - Status Bar Visibility - Max Frame Skip - etc.

Limitation - FLV file must encoded in Sorenson-H263 codec (Flash 7) - Video resolution must not exceed 320x240 pixels


YouTube TV Mashup

Japanese YouTube player like a TV. Auto searching pop movies in Japan. This was done by Satoru Yano.



YT Instant

YouTube Clone Scripts




External Links

[42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] [50] [51]


  1. YouTube:
  2. YouTube Architecture:
  4. A New Way To Embed YouTube Videos:
  5. YouTube Annotations extractor tool:
  6. YouTube Annotations and JavaScript:
  7. Adding and Editing captions/subtitles on YouTube:
  8. YouTube Facts & Figures (history/stats 2005-2010):
  9. YouTube TV is the kind of cable-killing TV experience Apple promised us but failed to deliver, analysts say:
  10. NowMov uses the YouTube API to present a continuous stream of videos:
  11. Songza used the YouTube API to present a continuous stream of audio:
  12. YouTube TV Tries Discounted Offers:
  13. YouTube tests live video streaming (Sep 2010):
  14. wikipedia: YouTube Live
  16. Confirmed - Live Video On YouTube This Year:
  17. YouTube to Live Stream U2 Concert:
  18. YouTube to Stream Outside Lands; Watch DMB and Jason Mraz Live:
  19. YouTube to Include Live Tweets in Full-Length Viewing of “Taxi Driver”:
  20. State of the Union, brought to you by YouTube:
  21. Watch The State Of The Union 2011 Live On YouTube--Then Ask Obama Your Questions:
  22. YouTube to Live Stream Obama Press Conference:
  23. YouTube streaming live Coachella sets--with no bathroom lineRead more:
  24. YouTube to roll out live streaming video to select partners:
  25. YouTube opens up live streaming to partners:
  26. YouTube Live Stream Opens for Even More Creators:
  27. YouTube Kids Is Getting Some Totally Sensible Parental Controls:
  28. How to Set Up YouTube Parental Controls:,review-4139.html
  29. Fun with YouTube's Audio Content ID System:
  30. YouTube vs. Fair Use:
  31. Viacom suit is Net killer, Google claims:
  32. US judge prunes damages from YouTube copyright suit:
  33. MobiTubia v1.76 Build 4:
  34. YouTube TV - Mashable entry:
  35. Stanford student creates YouTube Instant, gets job offer from YouTube CEO:
  36. YouTube Embedded Players and Player Parameters:
  37. YouTube Will Enable Offline Viewing On Its Mobile Apps (for Chromecast):
  38. YouTube teases offline mode in latest app update (for all users):
  39. YouTube's embedding style guides - video sizing & aspect ratios:
  40. Python founder (now a Googler) discusses YouTube acquisition and finding out YouTube is written in Python:
  41. It would cost $37 Billion/yr to pre-screen YouTube videos:
  42. REDDIT -- ElsaGate:
  43. This is straight up sexual content on youtube its fucked up:
  44. What is ElsaGate?:
  45. Holy sh*t! Pedos are taking over YouTube! This sh*t should be taken seriously by YouTube:
  46. YouTube Changes Penalty System After Pedophilia Flap:
  47. I found this user commenting some creepy stuff on a toy review/elsa channel in danish, when i look further I find THIS and some questionable playlists.. youtube says 'network error' whenever i flag anything, weird:
  48. Expert comment with an explanation of how these videos are getting produced:
  49. REDDIT -- ElsaGate - Gibberish/Coded Comments:
  50. NWR White Rabbit+++ Elsagate Video One:
  51. REDDIT -- ElsaGate - for anyone looking for an easy way to share the basic info about #Elsagate with the masses, here is an infographic I made you can share...:

See Also

Google | PHPmotion | vShare | Online Video | Mobile Video