YouTube - The Video Streaming OG

Before YouTube, life is uh...vastly different on the internet. Like when you wanted to watch a film, minus the modern Netflix concept.

2/22/20233 min read

YouTube image
YouTube image

Pre-YouTube – Just A Bunch Of Video-Playing Software In The Wild

No one knows what will happen without YouTube in today’s world. Have you ever wondered how the internet was like before YouTube?

Well, it was like seeing the skeleton of a product that exists, but playing second fiddle to the main event before it transformed.

Before YouTube, there were video-playing software. Windows Media Player, Adobe Flash Player, Vimeo served only that purpose which was playing videos and animation. Without them, the internet basically would just be a huge clump of text on pages without exciting videos.

Entertainment options on the web were scarce, but at least PC games began transitioning towards more realism in their 3D designs, and we already had more avenues to connect with people online with messaging apps.

Feature film-length videos had gigantic file sizes, which was a burden to our PCs.

Downloading films was a hassle. The file sizes for such videos were a little heavy to unzip(unpack) back then. Let's not forget that placing DVDs into your DVD drive to load consumes CPU resources too. The more DVD you watch, the more worn out your PC would be.

No YouTube, No Convenient References

Without a way to witness another person doing things on a streaming platform, we had no certain way to tap on resources for problems we needed to solve.

For example, searching for a visual guide to pass level 4 in a game. The only thing you could do is access forums, hoping someone already posted a relevant solution in text, or ask friends in real life how they managed it.

Streaming, A Better Way of Watching Videos

But YouTube wasn’t just purely about uploading content in the beginning.

On this platform, people first discovered the joy of simply being able to upload their videos on YouTube without involving complicated software. They uploaded every kinds of videos possible. And when these videos start playing, they don't need any unzipping or execute energy-draining CPU processes.

That is when the world discovered the beauty of streaming.

From here, the earliest bunch of content creators appeared. They played games, dancing, reacted to things and so on.

The early days involving such creators were pure entertainment. They made things interesting and fun for their audience, whether intentionally or not. All these moments are forever on YouTube, unless the videos have been taken down by the creators.

YPP and beyond

As a way to thank creators for bringing in traffic to the platform, in 2007 YouTube started the YouTube Partners Program. Here is where content creators can start earning some revenue from views and subscribers. And at this moment, YouTube grew at a rapid pace, with all kinds of content showing up.

From news, travel guides, to gameplays and how-tos, there is nothing you can’t find on YouTube these days.

YouTube has essentially become a treasure trove of visual information and entertainment at this point.

We Search For Music Videos on YouTube, All The Time.

Music videos would die off with the decline of cable TV viewership if they weren't on YouTube.

TV stations was where they originated from, and if this form of entertainment couldn't find its way to a platform, where the world can access them freely online, people will simply ignore their existence.

No one today would purchase a music video on app stores just to watch them.

The Bad Part of YouTube, Once Upon A Time

Do you remember the days when you were on YouTube, there seems to be some right-in-your-face jumpscare/screamer videos that were hidden inside normal videos? Along with these there were some videos not suitable for viewing in general.

These were the parts of YouTube you wouldn't want to explore, and thankfully they are all gone today. Or at least some form of adult content requires you to be of certain age to be eligible to access.

Early days of YouTube seemed to have issues with content moderation.

Closing Thought

Some platforms today has a significant place in tech history, and YouTube was one of the important ones that contributed to the internet in a big way. They continue to experiment with ideas and push out new features to the platform to date.

As content creators keep popping up, creating videos, live stream or just posting shorts, YouTube continues to thrive from the traffic they get. Some of the YouTube OG creators continue to dish out fresh content each day for us, which is great to hear.

We all know how much we love our YouTube videos, even if they are just new movie trailers that are 2 minutes long.