In a early morning posting today on the official YouTube blog, Chad Hurley, CEO and co-founder of Google informed his readers that YouTube is now serving "well over a billion views a day on YouTube."

The announcement came on the third anniversary of YouTube's decision to sell itself to Google for USD $1.65 billion.

In his posting, Mr. Hurley says that three years after the acquisition, the YouTube platform and business continues to grow and evolve but the company remains committed to the same principles that ruled the site early on. The biggest difference in the site since its founding is the increase in video quality and the addition of longer full-length content.

YouTube was created by three former PayPal employees - Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim in February 2005.

According to a story that has often been repeated in the media, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen developed the idea for YouTube during the early months of 2005, after they had experienced difficulty sharing videos that had been shot at a dinner party at Chen's apartment in San Francisco. Jawed Karim did not attend the party and denied that it had occurred, and Chad Hurley told Time Magazine that the idea that YouTube was founded after a dinner party "was probably very strengthened by marketing ideas around creating a story that was very digestible."

YouTube began as a venture-funded technology startup, primarily from a US$11.5 million investment by Sequoia Capital between November 2005 and April 2006. YouTube's early headquarters were situated above a pizzeria and Japanese restaurant in San Mateo, California. The domain name was activated on February 15, 2005, and the website was developed over the subsequent months.

The first YouTube video was entitled Me at the zoo, and shows founder Jawed Karim at San Diego Zoo. The video was uploaded on April 23, 2005, and can still be viewed on the site.

YouTube offered the public a beta test of the site in May 2005, six months before the official launch in November 2005. The site grew rapidly, and in July 2006 the company announced that more than 65,000 new videos were being uploaded every day, and that the site was receiving 100 million video views per day.

In March 2008, YouTube's bandwidth costs were estimated by industry insiders at approximately US$1 million a day.