Ex-YouTube Man Builds Graphics Card for Entire Internet
By Cade Metz 05.30.13
At Google, Chris Zacharias spent his “20 percent time” building a new version of YouTube just for places with slow internet connections. It was called Feather, and the basic idea was to build a YouTube page that contained no more than 100 kilobytes of data, so that it could quickly load on machines in developing countries and other places where internet pipes were painfully narrow.
“We just couldn’t crunch those images down to a smaller size,” Zacharias remembers. “It would have taken a significant amount of Google’s entire processing power just to do that.”
That’s when imgix was born. Zacharias soon left Google and YouTube to found the San Francisco startup, which has built a web service for instantly re-sizing, re-cropping, and re-formatting images. Had imgix been available when he was building YouTube Feather, Zacharias could have shrunk those thumbnails in real-time, as people were visiting the video site, and many companies are now using imgix in similar ways, including apartment rental website Zillow, internet radio service 8tracks, and Swiftype, which provides a text search service for sites across the web.