Facebook has hit another milestone--over one billion video views last month. Since launching Facebook Video in June 2007, video views have steadily grown, and now, there are four times as many video views as actual Facebook members.
In a promotional video that Facebook posted on its Career site Wednesday, two engineers, Soleio Cuervo and Chris Putnam, talk about how they conceived of Facebook Video and then built it out at a "Hackathon" in January 2007.
At Hackathon events, Facebook engineers spend one night, all night, working on ideas that have been simmering for the few months prior. The goal is, "to change the 'That would be hot!' sentiment to something real and live on the site," explains a Facebook engineer, Aditya Agarwal, on the Facebook blog.
When Putnam and Cuervo starting thinking about video, they knew there were already tons of video sharing sites. But, none really allowed for distribution strictly to their friends. With YouTube, videos are either public or private, users can't pick and choose. They wanted to use the Facebook platform and let people tag kiddie videos or sweet guitar riff videos without fear of the whole world watching.
When Facebook Video upgraded in December 2008, not only could social networkers upload higher quality videos, they could also embed their Facebook videos on other Web sites, like personal blogs. This presumably helped up Facebook's video view numbers.
However, Facebook doesn't need much help in the numbers department. According to an article on Mashable, widget company AddToAny has calculated that with 24 percent, Facebook dominates content sharing on the Internet. It's followed by Yahoo with 14.4 percent and email with 11.1 percent.
One billion video views is no small number, but it still pails in comparison to YouTube video views, which are 1.2 billion per day. But, as Hackathons continue, there's no doubt Facebook's engineers will continue to strive for more numbers, (it already holds the top place for photo sharing). And, as Cuervo says in the video, "some of the best products we've ever shipped arose from a single night's effort."