We've of course seen no limit to the complaints by users that YouTube videos often get stuck buffering, despite blisteringly-fast connections. Most customers blame their ISPs
, while most ISPs (or companies paid by ISPs
) blame Google. The real reason is often the power and cash struggles going on behind the scenes over CDN and peering links, with last-mile ISPs, core network ISPs, and content companies like Google all sometimes playing a role in making your YouTube performance suck
With that in mind, Google has posted a new video quality report
. Right now the report is simply a series of slides explaining how video gets delivered to you, but ultimately Google is going to start logging ISP connection speeds and ranking them based on YouTube streaming performance.
The concept appears to not be all that dissimilar from Netflix's attempt to name and shame ISPs for lower quality streaming performance (or name and shame them into using Netflix's Open Connect CDN
, depending on how you'd like to look at it).
Ultimately Google will list the best ISPs in each region based on YouTube performance, and when ISP subscribers are able to watch 90% of the YouTube videos in HD (720p) at consistent quality, that ISP will be branded as "YouTube HD Verified."
"We wanted to give users a measure of performance that they can truly understand," Google's Shiva Rajaraman tells the Financial Post
. "The other side is we felt this would be beneficial for ISPs too, because now they can describe their service and the various product offerings and price points they might have to their customers in a way that they can truly understand: You can access YouTube in HD on my ISP, or not."
ISPs, some of whom have been blaming Google for stuttering YouTube performance, may not see things that way. Either way, the collected data should help Google highlight exactly where YouTube performance breakdowns are occurring, helping to make the discussion of who is at fault a little less muddy
than it historically has been.
You can check out the methodology here
for how Google plans to rank ISPs. The company also provides some tips on improving YouTube performance here