YouTube.com began as a classic Silicon Valley start-up in a garage — Google.com recently bought the site for $1.65 billion.
The rise of YouTube.com from upstart Web site to the Internet's top destination for video happened so fast that it seemed to all but the most obsessive Web surfers to spring up from nowhere.
Launched in August 2005, YouTube.com wasn't the first Web site with video archives. But what set YouTube.com apart was the site's ability to make it easy for technophobes to upload videos to the site and find and view what others uploaded.
The site's slogan may be "Broadcast Yourself," but a big part of the appeal may be the many clips taken from popular television shows or films that find their way into the archives. Visitors to the site view more than 100 million videos every day.
Slate contributor Paul Boutin reviews some of the YouTube.com videos that became wildly popular and helped spark more interest in the site: