We are starting a new series of famous bugs that broke the Internet, or almost did, even if it was for barely a few seconds. You can consider it an homage of Bond villains but in the world of computers. We hope you get a little chuckle out of former developers’ pains!
When YouTube was first launched, nobody, not even the YouTube guys thought a video would ever be watched 2 billion times. Well to be precise, no one thought a video would be watched more than 2,147,483,647 times, which is the maximum numerical value that can be stored by a 32-bit signed integer that was being used to represent the view count at the time.
Then the Korean pop star phenom, Psy, hit the scene and the Gang Nam Style rage took over and things have never been the same since.
In just 2 years following its release, Psy gave us this:
Here’s what YouTube had to say:
A 32-bit integer is usually more than sufficient for the majority of routine calculations. It’s just that it wasn’t enough for the online world’s craving for Gang Nam Style. This happens because a signed integer wraps around (two’s complement) once the maximum positive value is reached, meaning it is then succeeded by the minimum negative value, which is -2,147,483,648.
We need not worry because Google has since upgraded to a 64-bit signed integer, which can store values from −9, 223,372,036,854,775,808 to 9,223,372,036,854,775,807. That should keep us covered for the next 6-7 gazillion years.
Actually, Google later revealed that they had anticipated Psy’s surpassing of the 32-bit count and planted an Easter Egg where the counter fluctuates like a slot machine until hitting the minimum negative value.
Stay tuned for our Famous Bugs Series and let us know if you need help with any bugs getting the best of you 😉