NEWS
12/04/2014 06:05 EST | Updated 12/05/2014 03:00 EST

Psy's 'Gangnam Style' Gallops Beyond YouTube Counter

Just how big a hit was "Gangnam Style"? So mammoth that the Internet literally wasn't ready to handle it.

YouTube said that the 2012 song by South Korea's Psy -- accompanied by a horse-riding-like dance that became a global sensation -- this week reached the maximum number of views that its counter had imagined to be conceivable.

The video-sharing site shows that the official version of the video has had more than 2.15 billion views -- the equivalent of one-third of the world's population, although of course many people watched more than once.

The problem: YouTube designed its counter with what is known in computer science as a 32-bit integer, meaning that the maximum number of countable views was 2,147,483,647.

"We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer," YouTube, which is owned by search engine giant Google, said in a posting on Google+.

YouTube engineers anticipated the problem and upgraded to a 64-bit integer. That means that "Gangnam Style" or future mega-hit videos can now go beyond nine sextillion views -- a feat that, at least according to conventional wisdom, would be impossible to break.

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