YouTube: 1,000,000,000,000 plays in 2011

See the number above? That’s a lot of zeroes, and that’s just how many playbacks were recorded on YouTube this year. In fact, it was a little more than that.

One trillion playbacks were counted on YouTube in 2011, a number that YouTube says is “twice a many stars in the Milky Way”.

Based on our calculations, that’s roughly 142 playbacks for every person on Earth. We doubt every person alive – from 1 day old to death – has ever watched YouTube, so those of us addicted to the streaming video network probably make up the share of those who don’t watch.

In any case, some of the most watched videos this year include a cat hugging a kitten, helicopter imagery for the tsunami in Japan, and the weirdly hypnotic Nyan Cat.