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TED reaches its billionth video view!

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Great Moments in TED Talks

According to our best estimates, TED has surpassed a billion video views! Our most recent metrics show that TED Talks are being viewed at a rate of 1.5 million times a day — which means that a new viewing commences 17 times a second. We in the TED office cannot thank you enough for helping us reach this milestone of 1,000,000,000 views — nine wonderful zeroes.

In 2006, when we first posted six TED Talks online as an experiment, internet video was a new form. No one knew if people would take 18 minutes to watch “taped lectures” online, and none of us could possibly have predicted the way in which TED Talks would take off over the next few years. What does this tell us? That people want to learn. That people want be inspired. That people are hungry for ideas, and that there’s a bubbling desire not to let the unfortunate truths of our world remain the status quo, but to look for creative solutions. The fact that you — and your fellow curious minds around the globe — keep coming back for talks day after day is truly astounding. Consider us humbled.

Take some time to play with the “Great Moments in TED Talks” interactive graph above. Overall, it shows the reach TED has developed over the past six years, all thanks to you.

To celebrate our billionth view, today we are launching a brand new section on our site: Playlists. These collections of great talks take the topics you’ve consistently shown the most interest in, and aim to give you a panoramic picture by offering many different slices of the view. When you find a playlist that piques your interest, start watching and feel free come back at any time — if you’re signed in to TED.com (register anytime), we’ll be able to show you exactly where you left off when you return. And yes, these playlists are fully sharable with your friends.

For this section, we also reached out to 24 incredible personalities in the fields of technology, entertainment and design, asking them to create their own playlists. Each of these guest-curated playlists contains the author’s favorite talks — the ones that wowed them, the ones that most inspired them, the ones they want the rest of the world to watch, stat. Every day for the next week, we’ll be unveiling several new guest-curated playlists. Today, enjoy lists from Ben Affleck, Jill Bolte Taylor, Reggie Watts, Bill Gates and Glenn Close. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, Mashable and iTunes are helping us share these playlists far and wide, iTunes offering them as limited-edition downloadable podcasts and Mashable hosting additional lists from tech superstars.

Ben Affleck's TED playlist

Ben Affleck’s new movie Argo — which he both directs and stars in — is getting great reviews. The Los Angeles Times writes, “Argo takes you back. Not just to the dark days of the 1979-81 Iranian hostage crisis but to a brighter, earlier time, when Hollywood regularly turned out smart and engaging films that crackled with energy and purpose.” This made us wonder: what TEDTalks would Affleck give rave reviews? Head to the playlist section to watch his eight picks and read his director’s note on each >>

Jill Bolte Taylor's TED playlist

Nearly 10 million viewers have watched Jill Bolte Taylor’s talk, “Stroke of insight.” So which talks most move her? Taylor explains, “I love talks that contribute to the overall well-being of who we are as humanity — that deal with how we can explore ourselves as individuals, as well as people in relationship with one another, and then ultimately, how we relate ourselves to the sustainability of this beautiful planet. And, of course, I always love interesting science told well in story form.” Head to the playlist section to watch her 10 picks >>

And a bonus talk that Jill Bolte Taylor absolutely adores: Hedy Schleifer’s talk from TEDxTelAviv, “The power of connection”

Reggie Watts' TED playlist

Musician slash comedian Reggie Watts is known for creating improvised, one-of-a kind performances. In his TED Talk “Reggie Watts disorients you in the most entertaining way,” he bends sound and language to glorious effect. Now, Watts shares his favorite talks, from how mushrooms can change the world to the power of laughing with strangers. Head to the playlist section to watch Watts’ selections >>

And a bonus talk that Reggie Watts wants to make sure you watch, if you haven’t already: Steve Jobs’ “How to live before you die”

Bill Gates' TED playlist

To stress the importance of malaria research, Bill Gates famously unleashed mosquitos on the audience in the first of his three TED Talks. So which talks jolted him into action? When we asked Gates to curate a list of his favorites, his response was, “There are too many to pick, really.” Head to the playlist section to see how he whittled his choices down >>

Actress Glenn Close has earned 3 Tonys, 3 Emmys and 6 Oscar nominations during her chameleon-like career. But even she sometimes needs inspiration. Head to the playlist section as Close shares 5 TED Talks that had a lasting effect on her, as well as why each struck a chord >>

But since you TED fans are our ultimate celebrities, we want to hear about the talks that have stayed stuck in your mind since you first heard them. Has a TED Talk ever changed your life? Have you seen a TED Talk impact a community or individual? Tweet #TEDBillion to share.

And tomorrow, tune back to the TED Blog for playlists created by Isaac Mizrahi, Bobak Ferdowsi of NASA, Bono and Chinese TV personality Wang Lifen.