The Viral Whirlwind of YouTube Instant

A Bet and a Few Hours of Work Take the Web by Storm

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YouTube Instant, a site created by Facebook Intern Feross Aboukhadijeh caught the attention of YouTube CEO Chad Hurley, as we reported the other day. Hurley even offered Aboukhadijeh a job over Twitter. 

What’s really amazing, however, is how much attention Aboukhadijeh has generated about YouTube Instant. This is today’s viral Internet in action, in a display you just couldn’t have seen in the pre-Twitter era. Last night, Feross tweeted that YouTube Instant had received 270,000 visitors in 3 days.

It’s been the subject of somewhere in the ballpark of 375 tweets just in the past three hours leading up to this writing, and it’s received this kind of Twitter love consistently since it launched. 

None of this is to say that Twitter is the only reason YouTube Instant has become a viral hit, though there’s no doubt Twitter has played a crucial role. YouTube Instant made Google Trends over the weekend, and its received a fair amount of media coverage. Aboukhadijeh has a list of publications who have covered YouTube Instant, which includes WebProNews, TechCrunch, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, Fast Company, Engadget, and even big mainstream publications like the New York Times and Washington Post.  

YouTube Instant

It’s interesting to see the nature of the viral web in action and how social media and blogs/news publications feed each other. Enough tweets, and it must be storyworthy. Enough stories written about it, and it must be tweetworthy. 

It’s funny to think that the whole thing started from a bet between roommates and 3 hours of work. "It started out as a bet with my roommate, Jake Becker. I bet him I could build real-time YouTube search in less than an hour," says Aboukhadijeh on his blog. "Sadly, I lost the bet – It took me 3 hours to finish it, and another couple hours to polish the user interface into what you see now at YTInstant.com. But, I’m happy with the result."

Clearly a lot of other people are happy with it too. 

"Needless to say, YouTube Instant has gone viral," says Aboukhadijeh. "Without pausing to worry about what caused this magical event to transpire, I set about upgrading my under-powered server to a much beefier configuration capable of handling the Slashdot effect. For most of Friday morning, my server was visibly struggling to serve the flood of web traffic."

As for YouTube Instant itself, he says he’s working to make it more full featured. It’s unclear whether or not he’ll actually be working for Google (we’re waiting for a response about that), but he’s no doubt doing plenty to drive YouTube views. 

The Viral Whirlwind of YouTube Instant
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  • http://www.laokay.com Adsense Publisher

    It’s not like he came up with some brilliant idea that Google wouldn’t eventually do with their instant search capabilities once they get the results back from how it’s working on their search engine.

    • Chris Crum

      Yet, look how much attention its received.

  • Guest

    now a Facebook application on YouTube Instant :
    facebook.com/ytinstant/”>YTInstant FB application

  • http://WikInstant.com Jonathan

    I’ve built a few instants during the last days.
    Instant Wikipedia: http://WikInstant.com
    Instant Dictionary: http://Instantionary.com
    Instant PubMed (bio/med science literature): http://PMinstant.com

    Got a lot of visitors already, it seems to be a big hit. Don’t hesitate to give feedback :)

  • http://www.audiovisual.co Ian Barnes

    Its fantastic to see new inovations coming up in search technology, what it means for us small competitors is an uknown but sites like web pro news keep sites like mine www.audiovisual.co on their toes, contantly looking for new ways to get the site infront of customers.

    Google instants will be brilliant as we are going to be posting video in the next few weeks, its been a challenge to come up with video of an Audio Visual nature, but with things changing it causes me to rethink all my stratergies.

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