This is fascinating. In an attempt to determine how many videos there are on YouTube, researchers Ethan Zuckerman and Jason Baumgartner came up with a clever approach they call “drunk dialing.” Because YouTube URLs have an 11-character string that follows specific rules, there are 18.4 quintillion possible YouTube addresses. The researchers tried a few million random guesses and used the number of hits to calculate a percentage. Multiplying that percentage against the possible total provided an estimated number of actual videos available: currently 13.325 billion. Since their crawler gathers metadata about each hit, they can also estimate things like YouTube’s growth rate (4 billion videos posted in 2023). Check their TubeStats site for additional insights about language, views, length, number of subscribers, likes, comments, and more.
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