You probably don’t know his name, but Billy Biggs is one of the people who has helped keep Google on Forbes’ list of the world’s most innovative companies.
In the third annual version of the list out today, Forbes highlights nearly a dozen next-generation innovators who are expected to create the products and services these companies will be counting on to remain innovation machines.
Biggs, a software engineer at YouTube since Google bought the video site in 2006, has had a hand in most of the major projects there already. But at just 35, he will be called upon to create many more. Overall, he says, his work is about “making sure the systems are built for the future and we’re able to build cool things”–even if he doesn’t yet know what they will be. Here’s a closer look at his work:
Billy Biggs likes to say pranks are his full-time job at YouTube, Google’s video service. For April Fool’s Day 2010, for instance, he and a few other software engineers created a new video display format called TEXTp. Ostensibly aimed at cutting network bandwidth costs, it turned YouTube videos into colorful streams of text characters.
Don’t let those hijinks fool you. Labeled a “hidden gem” by a former YouTube executive, Biggs has had a hand in nearly every major technical project there since Google bought it in 2006. His work as principal architect for YouTube’s computer systems and software and its website is credited with helping YouTube reach an industry-leading 6 billion hours of video a month viewed by more than a billion people.
That massive audience has put the site in a position to challenge television for consumer attention and marketer budgets–just as TV faces many new challenges to its reign as the world’s most popular entertainment medium. …