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Gangnam Style breaks YouTube because it’s so popular

Believe it or not, people around the world are still watching Gangnam Style, that supremely silly yet insanely catchy ditty by South Korean pop star PSY. In fact, so many people have been hitting YouTube to check out the site’s most watched video that they’ve gone and broken the view counter. The technology powering YouTube’s counter meant that it could only handle a maximum figure of just over 2.1 billion. Although a simple solution would’ve been to simply replace the digits with the word “lots,” or “too many” or even “why are you still watching this?”, the YouTube team instead decided to get the toolkit out and have a tinker.

Long after becoming the first YouTube video to surpass 1 billion views, and mere months after becoming the first video to crack the 2 billion view barrier, Psy’s Gangnam Style has officially become the first video to break YouTube. Well, YouTube’s hit counter, at least. YouTube’s hit counter was programmed using a 32-bit integer, YouTube explained on Google+ this week, as the service never imagined a single video racking up more than the 2,147,483,647 views that the code maxes out at. Then Psy happened. The count stalled out when it hit that magic number, but fear not: YouTube’s code elves got to work and a fix already appears to be in place, as the video’s views currently stand at 2,152,419,883 (whew!) and counting. Google didn’t explain how it fixed the issue, but it did leave a small Easter Egg hidden in the 32-bit integer’s wake; hover your cursor over Gangnam Style’s counter and it’ll start freaking out, before finally settling on a negative number and linking to the Google+ post.

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Written by Chastity Mansfield

I'm a writer, an amateur designer, and a collector of trinkets that nobody else wants. You can find me on Noozeez, and Twitter.

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