Feross Aboukhadijeh programs YouTube Instant; Internet explodes!

Feross AboukhadijehFollowing the release of Google Instant, computer science major FEROSS ABOUKHADIJEH, a member of the Class of 2012, spent three hours programming a creative application of the search engine YouTube Instant.

The website uses Google Instant’s search capabilities to find and immediately begin to play YouTube videos relating to what users type into the search field. As the user types, new videos begin to play.

On Thursday evening, Aboukhadijeh posted the site to his blog, Twitter and Facebook—and went to bed. Friday morning, he awoke to find that the world had taken notice.

As an example, check out this story from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Aboukhadijeh received interview requests, congratulatory emails, a Wikipedia entry in his name and a traffic-flooded server. Originally, YouTube Instant was hosted at Aboukhadijeh’s own website, feross.net, but it was quickly overwhelmed by visitors.

“I just upgraded my server,” he said on Monday. “For a while it was getting a bit slow.”

According to Aboukhadijeh, the site garnered a quarter-million views in three days. The site was so popular that Chad Hurley, the CEO of YouTube, actually tweeted Aboukhadijeh asking him if he’d like a job. On Monday afternoon, Aboukhadijeh had lunch at YouTube headquarters, where he discussed the future of YouTube Instant with Hurley.

“All the employees are getting a kick out of it,” said Aboukhadijeh. “They’re thinking about making it part of the site permanently, which I think would be really cool.”

Other imitators have appeared in the wake of YouTube Instant’s breakout success, including a GoogleMaps Instant and a Google Images Instant. But YouTube Instant has a simple yet attractive design that Aboukhadijeh thinks adds to the appeal.

“I think it’s perfect for Internet users who are looking for a TV-like, channel-surfing experience,” he said. “A lot of the other sites just show you search results, whereas YouTube Instant starts playing videos as you type, which can lead to moments of spontaneous delight.”

Now Aboukhadijeh is working on an improved version of the site with navigation and volume controls and other features based on feedback he has received.

“I have a lot of plans to improve it, but I want to keep it simple,” he said.

Aboukhadijeh is finishing up an internship at Facebook, where he says that everyone has been very happy and supportive. Then, it’s probably back to school, at least for now.

Visit his website to learn more about his recent experiences, which he calls “amazing, insane, sleepless and humbling!”

Sam Julian