We all tend to take YouTube for granted but there’s an insanely technical, global infrastructure keeping the site up and running for the billions of users that access it every day. YouTube holds multiple copies of every video uploaded, in servers based all over the world. That way, they can stream the video from a location that’s nearest to you which should eliminate buffering issues. Of course, other factors are present and can lead to the spinning wheel of death, such as the quality of the WiFi connection, the time of day or the amount of bandwidth your ISP provides.

Google Video Quality Report

While most factors are out of their control, there is one thing they can keep an eye on, and today Google is launching their “Video Quality Report” which will test Internet Service Providers based on YouTube video playback performance. They hope that it will provide consumers with information regarding their ISP and encourage those ISPs to provide the best connection speed possible. Google have confirmed that they will rate the providers according to “the video streaming quality you can expect (at least 90% of the time) when you watch YouTube on an ISP in a specific area.”

Google is going to compile its data from the billions of YouTube videos watched across the many thousands of Interet Service Providers for a one-month period. They confirm that the results will be made available on a region-by-region basis, starting with Canada.

In an interview with the Financial Post, Shiva Rajaraman, Director of Product Management at YouTube, said that Google has two main goals for its Video Quality Report service:

We wanted to give users a measure of performance that they can truly understand … the other side is we felt this would be beneficial for ISPs too, because now they can describe their service and the various product offerings and price points they might have to their customers in a way that they can truly understand: You can access YouTube in HD on my ISP, or not. We would love to use the badge if it makes sense for their marketing objectives. Again, to the extent that YouTube matters to their subscribers … from an ISP’s perspective, we wanted to give them a factual way to present that information to their subscribers.

ISP Ratings Based On Video Download Performance

Google will evaluated the data on ISP performance in the following way:

‘YouTube HD Verified‘ Rating: Consumers should have no issues with watching HD videos (720p or 1080p). Fast load times and little to no buffering should be as standard. should be a breeze the vast majority of the time, with fast load times and no annoying hiccups in performance.

‘Standard Definition‘ Rating: Standard definition videos (at least 360p) should be watchable with “moderate” load times.

‘Lower Definition‘ Rating: The least favorable both both ISPs and for consumers. Slow load times and likely buffering issues.

how video works