Google has launched a service called ‘Video Quality Report’ for customers to test how well their ISPs can serve up YouTube videos, and to offer ISPs ratings according to how well they manage the video service.
Google is tossing up a service in a number of countries to help viewers determine how efficiently their ISP serves up YouTube videos. First offering a nifty animated explanation of how YouTube streams videos to viewers, the website includes functionality to test your ISP, and view data indicating video quality at various times of the day.
Google also offers users the chance to compare this data to other ISPs in their area, helping them to see whether more efficient services are available.
YouTube offers a page for ISPs, indicating the three ratings offered: lower definition, standard definition, and YouTube HD Verified. In order to achieve this latter rating, ISPs must be able to load 720p HD videos at least 90% of the time.
Google bases its reports on a on the amount of data sent to clients, divided by the amount of time it took to get there – this is a value Google calls ‘goodput’.
Google reports that a minimum goodput threshold of 2.5 Mbps is necessary to maintain HD video streams.
In fact, the ‘Video Quality Report’ tool is a nifty way to gauge the effectiveness of an ISP, not merely in regards to YouTube. The data collected by the tool also helps to quickly indicate where the best ISPs are generally located. Right now, Canada is apparently scoring very well with the tool.
Google has also included a useful section on the site detailing some of the clever methods YouTube uses to stream videos, including compression, adaptive bitrate, and investments on bandwidth and infrastructure.
The service will soon open in other countries, including the United States.