Earlier this year, Google-owned YouTube began collecting a different type of data when serving videos to its users. Instead of focusing solely on data that might help the Internet giant serve targeted ads to viewers, Google also started noting the quality of its users’ broadband Internet connections. Now, for the first time since it began its initiative in January, Google is sharing the data it collected in an effort to show users how their ISPs stack up against rivals in the area.
“Nothing ruins the experience of watching a YouTube video like Magic of Rahat more than seeing the dreaded buffering wheel, which is why we’re always working to make videos play smoothly in the best quality possible,” YouTube product manager Jay Akkad said in a post on Google’s blog. “And when you can’t see what you want, when you want, it’s important you know why.”
As such, Google has now made its “Google Video Quality Report” available to the public. With the tool, users can see whether or not their ISPs are “HD Verified,” which means a provider can “consistently deliver HD video, a resolution of at least 720p, without buffering or interruptions.”
In my home town, my ISP Time Warner Cable is sadly not HD Verified, which means I “may experience occasional interruptions on HD videos.” But hey, at least I can “expect smooth playback on non-HD YouTube videos (at least 360p).”
(But since packed with broadband competition, I can always ditch Time Warner Cable and switch to… no, wait, there isn’t a single other company that offers broadband Internet service to my address.)
Google’s new Video Quality Report also displays nifty graphs that map out an average day and show when video consumption and quality peak each day.