Whoop! Gangnam Style Breaks YouTube

Kim Kardashian didn't break the internet but PSY did! Trivia fact of the week. His video has been watched over 2.15 billion times on YouTube and this fun little milestone was marked by an incident that temporarily broke a feature on the site. Luckily for us, what broke today was not the entire video sharing service but only the view counter.

So why did this happen you ask? It turns out that PSY's Gangnam Style music video was watched 2x32+1 or to be exact 2,147,483,647 + 1 times. The reason this caused a problem is that when the service was launched way back in 2005 the programmers at the time thought it unlikely that any video would ever consume the entire 32 bit integer (number stored as 32 ones and zeroes) size reserved for the counter value. Looks like they were wrong!

Taken from YouTube's Google+ page is Google's take on the matter.

In retrospect, Google has decided to beef up their counter value. Instead of using an unsigned 32bit Integer (number > 0 stored as 32 bits) as a quick fix which would give up to 2x2x32 or 4294967296 views going forward the counting has been upgraded to run on 64 bits. That makes the new effective maximum view count 9223372036854775808. Maybe they should go for a unsigned 64 bit value and make the maximum 18446744073709551616.

Who knows what the future holds. They could be wrong again. Let's hope we are still around when the impossible becomes possible once more.

We know it ain't 2012 but in the meantime...

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