YouTube has introduced a new online tool that will provide locals with a measure of how well their data connection handles YouTube videos. The web tool, called YouTube Video Checkup, measures connection speed and stability to provide a ranking based on telco performance in a specific location.
The YouTube video tool derives a score by aggregating recorded connections across all Android devices in a specific area. Those curious about the scoring and ranking methodology will be able to directly view it on the video checkup page. There’s quite a bit of transparency in the methods; although it may fly over the heads of regular consumers who are more concerned with the bottom line. Essentially, a score of 3.5 stars or higher is necessary to stream HD video without buffering.
Interestingly, the video checkup ratings will be capped at four out of five stars at launch. According to Google, the highest ratings are being reserved videos that require a better connection than HD video. Essentially waiting for 4K and VR content to become more widespread before allowing ISPs to reach the top scores.
Users will also have access to heatmaps which show where the best connections for streaming YouTube videos are. This relies on having many individuals accessing YouTube from a mobile device, or else the algorithm will not display a result. While Google has not presented a necessary threshold for data, the company admits that there will be gaps in its map where there are not enough YouTube users to create meaningful information.
Information gathered from YouTube video checkup is not only meant for consumers, but is also shared with telcos. The idea is that provides mobile ISPs with additional information about their own network performance. Google also has a more detailed version of the YouTube heatmap for telcos to examine.
An option to report poor network performance through the Video Checkup tool is apparently also in the roadmap for this new service.
This information is not static either. The scores displayed are aggregated over a 35 day period; making allowances for dips in quality due to unforeseen circumstances. It also provides a more generic idea of what to expect from streaming YouTube.
Ideally, the YouTube Video Checkup exists to provide consumers with an idea of what to expect while streaming. Google’s own metrics show that Malaysians tend to place speed and consistency over video quality; which affects how the scores of the checkup have been calculated.
However, it was stressed that this is not a precise display of the quality of a telco’s network. Instead, the tool specifically deals with the network performance in relation to using the YouTube mobile app.
The YouTube Video Checkup is exclusive to Malaysia for now. Google Malaysia has partnered with Celcom, Digi, Maxis, and U Mobile to provide the data, although it says that it may expand the number of partners in the near future. The local exclusivity is due to the ease of dealing with the telcos; which is apparently something uncommon in the world.