Ever been faced with a selection of ISPs and had a difficult time determining which one to go with? If HD video playback is important to you, a new initiative from Google might be able to help you with any such decisions in the future. This project is being called the "Video Quality Report" and it's meant to test the connection speeds of various Internet service providers. How does the program do that? By seeing how well service providers handle HD YouTube videos, naturally.
The service is rolling out in Canada first, but at the moment, Google isn't saying when or if it will launch in other regions of the world. Those interested in finding out how well their ISP can deliver HD YouTube videos can head over to the Video Quality Report page to see results based on their location. The test is carried out over the course of 30 days and the results are sorted into provider and location. If a provider is capable of loading 90% of YouTube videos in 720p without playback issues, they're branded as a "YouTube HD Ready" ISP. Similar titles exist for providers capable of loading smooth 360p videos – "standard definition" – and providers which are slow to load even sub-HD video – "lower definition."
If you thought Google was specifically targeting Canada first because the company feels there could be room for improvement, guess again. Google actually reports seeing impressive loading times from various ISPs in Canada, with YouTube product management director Shiva Rajaraman telling the Financial Post that they've scored "very high marks" on these tests thus far. Should the results continue to please, Canada could be the first country to gain Google's recognition as "HD Ready."
Of course, glistening results could ultimately help these ISPs net more customers too, with Rajaraman suggesting that ISPs could use their "YouTube HD Ready" status in marketing campaigns. It'll be interesting to see how this program expands throughout major parts of the world – if expansion is in the pipeline at all – and if consumers actually take these ratings into account when picking or switching service providers. If you happen to live in Canada, head over to the Video Quality Report page and let us know what the results for your area are!