Google is letting YouTube users know that their poor video quality is due to their ISP, and not the YouTube service itself. This is similar to what Netflix started recently with their hints about Verizon and others slowing down video streaming.
As you can see in the screenshot, some users are finding a blue bar with a link to Google’s Video Quality Report. “Experiencing interruptions?” users are asked, and then “Find out why”. When clicked, the link opens the Video Quality Report tool that lists your ISP and the area where you live. Google’s goal with this whole deal is a faster web. “There are many factors that influence your video streaming quality, including your choice of Internet Service Provider (ISP). Learn how your ISP performs and understand your options.” There’s an element of passing the blame for poor customer experience in all this, too. Google wants users to know that it’s not entirely at fault for poor streaming quality and interrupted or buffering videos.
This report isn’t available globally, but it’s in enough places that it’s starting to garner some attention. Google rolled out the Video Quality Report in Canada and then increased availability to the U.S. and some other countries back in May. The report lists estimated YouTube video quality based on your geographical area, your ISP, the time of day, and other users that could affect your stream. It will even list whether your ISP is HD Verified for at least 720p streaming, or if they fall under standard 360p streaming or lower. Whether you’re in a slow streaming area or not, it’s an interesting report to read.
With net neutrality essentially dead, it’s going to take big initiatives from big companies like Google and Netflix to keep consumers aware of what ISPs are doing. Providing slower speeds to force money out of content providers is not acceptable. It hurts innovation and stifles competition. Google and Netflix have a vested interest in keeping the internet open and fast. There’s financial gain in it for them, too, and financial loss at stake if ISPs keep throttling video or refuse to upgrade their networks.