Google has started to map the network performance of ISPs by measuring the performance of ISPs when playing video clips on YouTube. The test not only measures throughput, but also includes video quality in the study.
The performance of data-intensive sites such as YouTube largely depends on the network of an internet provider and the available capacity. Google states that it has mirror servers running at various points worldwide for its YouTube platform and that the shortest route is often chosen to forward videos to the internet user. However, the last part is provided by the provider and Google has little to no influence on this.
To make the network performance of ISPs more transparent, Google is going to publish so-called Video Quality Reports. These will initially only be available in Canada, but it is expected that Google will soon offer them in other countries. As a benchmark, Google takes, among other things, the loading of a 720p video clip with a bitrate of at least 2.5Mbit/s: providers that can send this video data to the end user 90 percent of the time without any problems are given the ‘HD Verified’ stamp. Videos with lower bitrates are also included, but these weigh less heavily in the rating.
Google uses metadata from the billions of viewed YouTube clips to compile enough data for the reports, spread over thousands of providers. The internet giant also promises to anonymize all user data.