|By Bob Gourley||
|June 17, 2014 11:11 PM EDT||
Google is certainly difficult to pin down – part search engine, part Internet service provider, part investor and entertainment provider and researcher and driverless-car developer, and the list goes on and on.
In a YouTube blog post dated May 29th, Google announced that YouTube watchers can now access a free Video Quality Report to assess the speed (or sluggishness) of the Internet service. “Nothing ruins the experience of watching a YouTube video… more than seeing the dreaded buffering wheel,” the blog maintains, “which is why we’re always working to make videos play smoothly in the best quality possible. The report will provide explanations for torpid connections, tips for improving connections, and video quality from comparable and competing local ISPs.
An optimistic interpretation of this new service from Google applauds the tech giant for providing consumers with more information and contributing to a more competitive marketplace. Realizing a more perfect market means having more information about available products – in this case, more information might encourage Internet users to switch from one provider to another based on Google’s Quality Report information, so ISPs will likely face heightened competition from one another. The new service is quite a boon for consumers.
A more skeptical observer sees the move as another jab at Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon, who have recently come under increased scrutiny with so much recent media focusing on tech news stories (topics like Net Neutrality and Google Fiber).
The impact of this new service will be difficult to quantify, but hopefully the Report will encourage competition and ultimately lead to better options for consumers. Try the Report for yourself – the results may surprise you.