updated 11/6/2006 3:45:38 PM ET 2006-11-06T20:45:38

YouTube, the video-sharing Web site recently acquired by Google Inc. for $1.65 billion, beat out a vaccine that prevents a cancer-causing sexually transmitted disease and a shirt that simulates a hug to grab top honors as Time magazine's "Invention of the Year for 2006."

Time magazine, owned by media conglomerate Time Warner Inc., wrote in an article that YouTube's scale and sudden popularity have changed the rules about how information — along with fame and embarrassment — gets distributed over the Web.

YouTube, which had 27.6 million unique visitors in September, according to Nielsen NetRatings, came along at just the right time, according to Time: social-networking Web sites were hot, camcorders were cheap and do-it-yourself media was expanding beyond text-based blogs.

YouTube inherits the tiara from Snuppy, a cloned puppy and winner of the magazine's 2005 award.

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