Gangnam Style Forces YouTube to Upgrade View Counter

Gangnam Style Forces YouTube to Upgrade View Counter
Just how big a hit was Gangnam Style? So mammoth that the Internet literally wasn't ready to handle it.

YouTube said that the 2012 song by South Korea's Psy - accompanied by a horse-riding-like dance that became a global sensation - this week reached the maximum number of views that its counter had imagined to be conceivable.

The video-sharing site shows that the official version of the video has had more than 2.15 billion views - the equivalent of one-third of the world's population, although of course many people watched more than once.

The problem: YouTube designed its counter with what is known in computer science as a 32-bit integer, meaning that the maximum number of countable views was 2,147,483,647.

"We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer," YouTube, which is owned by search engine giant Google, said in a posting on Google+. It further asks users to "Hover over the counter in PSY's video to see a little math magic..."

psy_youtube_counter_magic.jpg

YouTube engineers anticipated the problem and upgraded to a 64-bit integer. That means that "Gangnam Style" or future mega-hit videos can now go beyond nine sextillion (9,223,372,036,854,775,808) views a feat that, at least according to conventional wisdom, would be impossible to break.

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