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"Nyan Cat"

Timeless YouTube

Technology | Website experiments with much higher time limits for some videos

Issue: "Face-off," Aug. 13, 2011

YouTube is mostly the home for clips and short videos: music videos, kids singing, cats doing cute things, bloopers, and so on. In 2010, the website raised its length-per-video limit from 10 minutes to 15; a select number of users were granted longer uploads, but nearly all of the site's 790 million users still were restricted to the shorter length. Those wishing to upload significantly longer video-for instance, a full-length feature film, which generally runs 90 minutes or more-would have to slice the film into segments and upload each individually, then trust that users would keep clicking on the next video.

But lately YouTube has been toying with much higher video limits, and in June they increased the limit for some users from 15 minutes to a hefty 10 hours, long enough for all three of the Lord of the Rings movies with a little time left over for intermission. It's hard to imagine how most people will make use of those 10 hours in a single video. But the initial response was both baffling and hilarious: Popular videos like "Badger Badger," "Nyan Cat," and "Epic Sax Guy" appeared in 10-hour versions in which the short video was simply looped-a lot.

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Dave Pilibosian/iStock

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