Nobody Knows What These Mysterious YouTube Videos Are

Thousands and thousands of videos, uploaded nearly every day. Each one is the same, structure-wise: 10 slides of shapes, shown over 11 seconds, over various random tones. Nobody has a clue what the videos are supposed to be, much less who is uploading them or why.

Just today, the channel has uploaded over a dozen bizarre videos. The video leading this post, however, is the very first video that Webdriver Torso uploaded to YouTube.

It's the type of randomness that almost makes the YouTube channel, called "Webdriver Torso", seem like the horse_ebooks of YouTube. But the eeriness of the videos means they might feel closer to "numbers stations", radio frequencies that carried spy codes during the cold war.

Attempts to contact the creator have proven useless. At one point, the internet even thought they nailed what was happening: supposedly, the videos were being uploaded by a company that wanted to test video stuff out... but even that proved to be a dead end.

Everyone has theories, of course. Some are even outlandish: maybe the videos are someone's attempts to communicate with aliens? It doesn't help that among the 77,000+ videos uploaded by Webdriver Torso, there will occasionally be abnormalities. For example, there is one video of the Eiffel Tower amidst the thousands of videos of random blue and red shapes. The YouTube channel has even commented once: "Matei is highly intelligent."

...nobody knows what the crap that means either. Watching lots of videos uploaded by the station doesn't really help either.

The latest theory surrounding Webdriver Torso ties Google into the whole mess. If you search "webdriver torso" on YouTube, the entire page will look something like this:

Nobody Knows What These Mysterious YouTube Videos Are

That in of itself doesn't mean Google is behind it, of course — it simply means they're aware of the phenomenon. But following a number of YouTube and Google Plus accounts tied to channels which upload similar videos to Webdriver Torso eventually leads you to Google employees, according to The Daily Dot. Still, it's mostly speculation: nobody actually concretely knows what is going on here.

Whatever it ends up being, be it marketing stunt, alternate reality game, a company that is automating something for boring purposes, will probably not live up to the compelling nature of the Webdriver Torso mystery. I'm kind of hoping we never find out what's going on here. But do let us know your theories, if you have any!


Comments

    A comment left on a post on reddit in May:

    "I went to an automation conference at Google in 2013. There is a European steaming set top box software company that uses webdriver and an image recognition library to validate their encoder and upload works properly. Before they used a more complex image to validate but then switched to a very flat white and red box to make it easy for the image recognition to validate. These videos are it.")

    So it's allegedly validation media for a transcoding system. Makes sense to me, I've done some codec work before.... but sorry to take the mystery outta it :)

      This seemed the most likely outcome. An automated staging process for codec work.

      But what about Loch Ness???

    Thank god for your hard-hitting investigative journalism, Patricia. You could be the next Glenn Greenwald.

      You think this is bad...?

        I know she does some....strange....posts, and truth be told I usually don't care about what she writes, but this....is a long post about nothing. It's the Seinfeld of game writing.

      don't like it? don't fucking read it. jesus christ.

        But how will I know I don't like it until I read it? That would be judging a book by its cover.

      Quick! Patricia wrote something! Get your pitchforks!

      Don't like it? Don't read it. Stop filling the comments section with negative bullshit.

    Anyone come up with the theory that maybe someones just messing with them.

    Maybe it is a secret code used by bad people to communicate. Maybe the Eiffel tower is their target...

    yeah the sound on the youtube video wasn't completely untolerable at all ... I am now not about to commit sudoku ... you f-ing clown!

    Maybe if we took all the videos, put them end to end in chronological order and sped it up we could get an SSTV signal

    It is probably codes that trigger sleeper agents into assassinating their targets.
    Check the dates of upload and unexplained deaths within 24 hrs :)

      I played it near my toaster and it chased after me. Luckily, the electrical cord came out before I was "toast."

    "a company that is automating something for boring purposes"

    That's probably why. It sounds like they're comparing their original encode with YouTubes transcode and measuring the differences.

    The f*ck is this sh*t?!

    Why do an article on this?

    It could be tests on some form of coding which generates tones based on shapes, colours, etc.

    MY GOD! AN ARTICLE THAT DISCUSSES SOMETHING I AM PERSONALLY NOT INTERESTED IN! THE SHOCK! THE HORROR! THE DEEP SENSE OF PERSONAL TRAGEDY! I SPENT 3 MINUTES READING IT, AND THAT'S TIME I WILL NEVER, EVER GET BACK! PATRICIAAAAAAA! YOU MONSTER! YOU KILLED MY THREE MINUTES BY MAKING ME, MAKING ME READ THIS, LIKE YOU HAD A GUN TO MY HEAD AND FORCED ME TO CLICK ON THE LINK AND THEN FORCED ME TO CONTINUE READING WHEN I REALIZED I WAS NOT INTERESTED! YOU MONSTER! MONSTEEEERRRRR!

      OH MY GLOB! MY CAPS LOCK KEY GOT STUCK ON. IT MUST BE ALIENS. FIRST THEY PUT AN ARTICLE ON A GAMES JOURNALISM SITE THAT WASN'T EVEN REMOTELY TIED INTO GAMES OR GAMER CULTURE, FORCED ME TO READ IT AND NOW THEY'RE FORCING ME TO WRITE IN A WAY I REALLY HATE, ESPECIALLY WHEN PEOPLE THINK IT MAKES THEIR COMMENT MORE EMPHATIC OR VALID. I ALSO LOST A MINUTE OF MY LIFE READING SOMEONE'S COMMENT WHO DECIDED THAT ALL CAPS WAS SOMETHING TO DO BECAUSE REASONS AND NOW I NEED TO GO WRAP MY HEAD IN A TOWEL TO MUFFLE THE SIGNAL SO DENNIS QUAID CAN'T FIND ME. AND ALIENS.

    It's Google:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27778071
    http://www.engadget.com/2014/06/06/this-is-the-truth-behind-webdriver-torso/

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