Tuesday, October 10, 2006

YouTube goes for $1.65bn

"YouTube goes from zero to $1.65bn in two years"

The twenty-something founders of YouTube have become millionaires hundreds of times over, after their video-sharing website, one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the internet, was sold to Google with a $1.65bn (£880m) price tag.

Less than two years ago, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen began work in Mr Hurley's Silicon Valley garage on a way to allow them to share footage of a dinner party with friends.

But today, visitors watch more than 100 million video clips on the site every day, from television clips, sporting highlights, and millions of home-made videos from webcam users across the world.

Depending on who you ask, YouTube is responsible for turning the internet into the most powerful entertainment medium since television, or for creating a never-ending episode of You've Been Framed. Both sides accept the YouTube phenomenon is set to keep on growing.

Google's executives said YouTube represents 'the next step in the evolution of the internet' and that Messrs Hurley and Chen reminded them of the young Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who created the search engine pioneer in a garage of their own less than a decade ago. Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google, said: 'Chad and Steve have created a team that has been innovative and visionary and successful, exactly the kind of people we love to work with.'

Mr Brin said YouTube 'reminds me of Google just a few short years ago'. He said having revolutionised the way people search for content on the internet, Google would now be able to shape the way in which video is delivered to viewers.

By Stephen Foley in New York

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