Print 37 comment(s) - last by Wolfpup.. on Jul 22 at 11:16 AM

  (Source: Quartz)
Google is taking net neutrality into its own hands, much like Netflix tried to

With net neutrality taking a holiday in the U.S., it's open season for internet service providers (ISPs) to throttle popular services -- particularly traffic-heavy ones -- if they don't pay fees.  Both Google Inc. (GOOG) (who owns the internet's most used video sharing service, YouTube) and Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) have been on the receiving end of such demands.
But Netflix found out the hard way that even if it pays, it wouldn’t necessarily get its service fully restored.  It found that connections from AT&T, Inc. (T), Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), and others were still slow -- even after Netflix paid its toll.  While it's possible there's a less sinister explanation one possibility is that these players are looking to deteriorate the quality of Netflix's service to give their own video-on-demand offerings an edge.
A frustrated Netflix responded by giving "warnings" when it detected slowdowns, deflecting the blame from the ISP.  The ISPs threatened to sue Netflix, naturally accusing that Netflix had no way of telling whether the weakness was some sort of purposeful network manipulation (the ISP's fault) versus inevitable slowdown at peak traffic times (everyone's fault) or due to some flaw in Netflix's delivery system (Netflix's fault).  The argument carried some weight and Netflix backed down from the warnings.
Now Google has offered up a similar set of warnings on YouTube.  But it's doing so in a much more disciplined and thorough way.  Google has done its homework, clearly.
The new "warnings" of sorts appeared as part of an annual transparency effort by Google.  On May 29th, Google released its annual "Video Quality Report" -- which covers ISP performance in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  Google's reports have traditionally featured "YouTube HD Verified" awards to ISPs that offer sufficient service and no signs of devious interference with internet video traffic.  But this year there was a little extra feature added alongside the report itself.

YouTube video bar
Google is offering this blue widget to take users to reports to assess their network's performance versus other ISPs in the region, to assess who's to blame for a slowdown. [Image Source: Quartz]

Since the release of this year's report, a new blue widget bar now pops up in YouTube when slow video playback is encountered.  The blue bar offers you a link to an analysis page that you can use to assess whether your ISP might be to blame and whether the cause might be organic (e.g. peak traffic) or artificial (e.g. network manipulation)  
That page shows you statistics not only on your connection, but also chronological averages for your service provider at different times of day, for different kinds of content (e.g. low-quality, standard definition, and high definition).  It also let's you compare that to other ISPs in your region or to ISPs in other regions.

Google's annual Video Quality Report [Image Source: Quartz]

In many ways Google's approach seems superior to Netflix's.  First, while it implies blame on certain miscreant ISPs, it doesn't directly say that -- hence limiting its legal liability.  Second, by showing averaged historic data from multiple ISPs and different regions, it backs up its claims with hard data.  The only way a particular ISP would be effectively "blamed" by Google's analysis would be if the charts showed it to be clearly inferior to its peers.
Much like with the blame game, Google doesn't try to directly guess at the cause when it sees slowdown (which might cause it legal trouble) -- even if the ISP is clearly to blame.  Rather it lets users look at usage trends on their ISP versus other ISPs in order to identify whether suspicious patterns are occurring.
The new feature went largely unnoticed when it was first introduced.  Quartz's Zachary M. Seward and Herman Wong were perhaps the first to report on the new warnings, following the hoopla over Netflix's short-lived warnings campaign.

YouTube slow video warning
A warning is seen here in the wild.  [Image Source: Quartz]

Google may indeed see legal threats over the program, but it's certainly gone to much greater lengths to avoid making hasty or legally dangerous statements.  It's hard to find fault in what Google is offering the user -- clear information with which to assess slowdowns.

Netflix may look to restore warnings in some form, as it too internally maintains usage data.  It makes that data available via its ISP Index, which covers 20 countries.  If Google's warning scheme survives legal challenges, Netflix has a clear path to offering customers more meaningful warnings; warnings which still hand consumers to identify market manipulation and speak out against it.

Sources: Google, via Quartz

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Is this necessary?
By Grimer21 on 7/7/2014 6:16:47 PM , Rating: 5
Yes it is. 99% of folks (you know what they say about statistics...) have no idea whom to throw blame at when something runs slowly. Also, 99% of the time they will blame the service they're using at the time, when 99% of the time it's actually their ISP who's at fault. So take that ISP's!

RE: Is this necessary?
By techxx on 7/7/2014 7:09:08 PM , Rating: 3
Good. <grumpycat>

RE: Is this necessary?
By The_Janitor on 7/7/14, Rating: -1
RE: Is this necessary?
By inighthawki on 7/7/2014 9:41:01 PM , Rating: 5
I'm usually not a grammar Nazi, but WTF? Your post is so incoherent I can't even tell what #1 means, and everything after #3 is just a blob of words...

But for the love of god, stop using ALL CAPS, use some proper punctuation, and form some complete sentences, please.

RE: Is this necessary?
By deltaend on 7/7/2014 9:53:51 PM , Rating: 2
Lol inighthawki. True, true...

RE: Is this necessary?
By retrospooty on 7/7/2014 10:20:57 PM , Rating: 2
Whoa... WTF? Words just

RE: Is this necessary?
By Samus on 7/8/2014 12:11:09 AM , Rating: 3
I almost thought I was Yahoo Answers after trying to read that.

RE: Is this necessary?
By renosablast on 7/8/2014 2:48:05 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like maybe a certain custodial engineer has been snorting the drain opener a little too much.

RE: Is this necessary?
By michael67 on 7/8/2014 3:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
How is it in gods name possible that those commy EU basters have better telephone networks then the US. 0_o

Because I am absolutely shocked, shocked I say, that deregulation didn't lead to lower bills and better quality service.

Oh Sh*t
By Reclaimer77 on 7/7/14, Rating: 0
RE: Oh Sh*t
By atechfan on 7/7/2014 8:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
Google, stop doing good shit like this. How can I hate you these days?

RE: Oh Sh*t
By inighthawki on 7/7/2014 8:48:36 PM , Rating: 2
Google, who single-handedly stopped that horrible "anti-piracy" Government takeover of the Internet attempt.

What are you referencing here?

RE: Oh Sh*t
By Bateluer on 7/7/2014 9:40:31 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Oh Sh*t
RE: Oh Sh*t
By inighthawki on 7/8/2014 11:09:43 AM , Rating: 2
Do you really believe that Google is solely and single handedly responsible for this not being passed? They helped immensely beyond measure, but if you think that others like Wikipedia and all the other websites that protested + all the support from third parties was nothing, then you better check your facts.

RE: Oh Sh*t
By NellyFromMA on 7/8/2014 11:37:13 AM , Rating: 3
Don't upset him, he's already decided Google > Everything. It's a waste of everyone's time trying to say anything that isn't that.

RE: Oh Sh*t
By Reclaimer77 on 7/8/14, Rating: 0
RE: Oh Sh*t
By Reclaimer77 on 7/8/2014 12:18:47 PM , Rating: 1
Here you go again acting like I hired you to be my editor.

You know my point was that Google has a lot of clout, right? Yes, it was a mistake to use the term "single handedly". But I didn't mean that literally. It wasn't my intention to imply that Google can wave their hand and make laws go away!!!

You always do this. Latch onto some small mistake or thing I misspoke and make a capital case out of it. What are you, perfect?

And news flash, there's no goddamned edit feature here!! Okay! Do you get that??? Haven't you ever wrote something you wish you could take back?

They helped immensely beyond measure

That was my only point. I personally believe without Google, it would have passed. Yes, others helped. But NONE of them have anywhere close to the traffic that Google gets. Google brought this issue to the forefront of most American's awareness.

You know sometimes you are really cool, then you just turn into this unrelenting bully...

RE: Oh Sh*t
By inighthawki on 7/8/2014 3:09:16 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't trying to nitpick - I legitimately had trouble figuring out what you were referring to, because I couldn't think of any "anti-piracy" issues that Google was solely responsible for fixing. That's why I asked first.

And news flash, there's no goddamned edit feature here!! Okay! Do you get that??? Haven't you ever wrote something you wish you could take back?

Yeah sure, I understand that, and now I understand that you must've been exaggerating for your point. My apologies for taking what you say literally.

You know sometimes you are really cool, then you just turn into this unrelenting bully...

I really didn't mean to start an issue with this one. I just took your statement literally. Sometimes it's hard to tell because your posts generally have a very favorable view of Google, so it's tough to tell if you're being completely serious or not when you say things like that.

RE: Oh Sh*t
By Reclaimer77 on 7/8/2014 3:19:42 PM , Rating: 2
Yes I'm very prone to exaggerating to get my point across. That's hardly something that's unique to me, but if I could take back the "single-handedly" thing, I probably would.

I really didn't mean to start an issue with this one. I just took your statement literally.

Yeah I get that, we're cool. But it would just be nice to have the benefit of the doubt sometimes.

RE: Oh Sh*t
By LRonaldHubbs on 7/9/2014 2:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
He's like Senator Kyl.
His remark was "not intended to be a factual statement."

By overlandpark on 7/7/2014 7:25:06 PM , Rating: 2
I've notice when I disable them, in some instances it won't load at all. When I refresh, it might load 30 seconds and stop. After I disable it it loads fine, but still not every time. Even with it off, sometimes it won't load, but after a refresh it loads at full speed.

By Solandri on 7/7/2014 9:58:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, some sites won't display or slow down display of their content if you're using an ad blocker. Which I find extremely ironic because the entire reason I started using an ad blocker in the first place was because of sites that were slow to load because their ads took forever to load, and they'd programmed it so the content wouldn't load until after the ads finished loading.

By amanojaku on 7/8/2014 12:03:17 AM , Rating: 3
It's not ironic at all that sites would slow down or block your access to content if you haven't loaded ads. Free sites use ad revenue to pay for their infrastructure. Without ads, we would pay for content.

That being said, I AdBlock and NoScript the hell out of everything. Originally it was because the ads were popping up over the pages, or loading video ads assuming everyone was on broadband. That's not as much of an issue now as ads are, in my experience, less intrusive today than three or four years ago. Just as you described, the problem now is that loading one site results in connections to 20-30 sites! WTF, I just want ONE page!!! Brings a whole new meaning to "world wide web"...

By StevoLincolnite on 7/8/2014 12:22:20 AM , Rating: 2
Adverts are a double edged sword.

For instance many websites will use advertising which is obtrusive and in the way with giant pop-ups.
So naturally, people find that annoying and wish to disable it.

Another is Spyware/Adware/Maleware/Viruses which can be distributed via adverts, this has actually happened on Dailytech in the very very very distant past and if you visited Dailtech, you had "Trust" warnings occur in browsers like Firefox.

Again, blocking adverts makes you immune to such things.

Another issue with adverts is one of Bandwidth, they're often flash heavy, which can consume a fair chunk of your data cap over time, not to mention make loading a website significantly slower.

Lets not forget that on mobile devices advertising also creates more processing load on your mobile device which decreases battery life.

And 9 times out of 10, the advertising is blatant rubbish, with potential for scams. (I.E. Like "Muscle Enhancers")
Or the advertising has absolutely no correlation with the websites content. (I.E tech website with pharmaceuticals.)

So really, do websites deserve our advertising money? Not really, not until they solve all the issues above in my opinion, we are essentially voting with out wallets here, let capitalism do it's work.

By Reclaimer77 on 7/8/2014 12:31:23 PM , Rating: 4
I've gone one step further and now block trackers too.

Seems to really speed up browsing too. Some sites have an absurd number of them.

By blue_urban_sky on 7/10/2014 12:27:12 PM , Rating: 2
Ty for the link, will give this a whirl

Damn good idea.
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/7/2014 6:49:53 PM , Rating: 5
Don't point fingers.

When your internet slows down, don't play the blame game. Just pop up a site that shows graphical comparisons between my ISP and its direct competitors. Using that you don't Google does not need to tell me my ISP sucks. I can make that determination for myself.


I wish other services had the balls to do this but I guess it takes someone with Google's analytical resources to pull it off.

RE: Damn good idea.
By Hakuryu on 7/8/2014 12:12:40 AM , Rating: 4
For every time someone, notably on Anandtech, has called me out saying 'I hate people saying their being throttled with no proof'...

They assume I'm the guy that has his modem fixed when some clueless tech tells me to shut it down and restart. I can't make the logical connection (pardon the pun) from my 22 years of internet use?

It's obvious that Time Warner is throttling Netflix from my personal long time use. I'm used to outages, and the maybe 2-3 month problems with major hops on backbones, shown to me by tracert listings.

So who can point fingers? Only if you internet-prove you know what you are talking about? I got news for you, form a guy that started on a 2600 baud modem; all of you are being throttled, and I am not a troll nor a tech illiterate idiot.

RE: Damn good idea.
By Ahnilated on 7/8/2014 8:51:50 AM , Rating: 2
You mean 2400 baud modem. It was 300, 1200, 2400 and up.

RE: Damn good idea.
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/8/2014 10:58:30 AM , Rating: 2
2600 baud ... lol

My first modem was a 300 baud one from Radio Shack and I used it to connect to async BBS systems long before there was an internet. Hell I even ran a BBS system I wrote in C a couple years later using on my dual processor (z-80 & 6502) 64KByte CP/M / Apple system using a US Robotics 14.4k HST modem. You are trying to teach grandpa how to suck eggs :D I know my way around computers and the internet as well.

I also know that proving an ISP is throttling your bandwidth is more than a little difficult unless you have real quantitative evidence to help prove your case. Even then you won't be able to do anything about it beyond exercising your buyer's right of finding an alternative ISP that won't throttle the portions of your bandwidth that you need. If you use BT a lot, find an ISP that won't throttle it. If you watch lots of utubes or stream movies, find an ISP that wont' throttle them on you. These ISPs exist - I know and have successfully gone through all this already long ago.

One thing for sure. All 1st tier ISPs will profile their networks without exception. They will throttle classes of packets that are heavily impacting their overall ability to deliver on their overall service commitments to their customers. many of them even state this in the terms of service (be sure to read that!!).

Second tier ISPs (Retail ISPs that buy blocks of unprofiled bandwidth from 1st tier ISPs & resell it to end users) often pledge not to profile and throttle customer data and many don't. I have seen this myself after being a customer of a 1st tier ISP, experiencing heavy throttling of BT packets even with large numbers of seeders (500MB file taking 8 hrs to download). The same BT transfers, with he same # of seeders on the 2nd tier network showed none of that throttling (same file took less than 5 min to download).

Here is the laughable part: The 2nd tier ISP I use gets their bandwidth from the same 1st tier ISP that I had left. Even funnier is that I have higher caps and 25% less monthly cost for the same level of service (35/10 up/down).

So would something like this have helped me make th4e decision to move to that 2nd tier ISP? I would thing it would have.

By inperfectdarkness on 7/7/2014 9:55:20 PM , Rating: 5
It's sad to think that the VOD competition article was from 2010. Here we are in 2014 and we're still fighting for something that--to anyone outside of DC--is common sense. Common sense, as in, should be passing the house 420-15 and the senate 99-1.

There's only two possible reasons why ISP's are against net neutrality & love throtting streaming.

1. They're too busy using their income to fatten their own pockets, and that prevents upgrading their networks.

2. They're trying to use every means possible to keep their own antiquated business models in play--including VOD services.

Since I've been alive long enough to witness the unfortunate miracle of the AT&T-1000 (youtube Steven Colbert if you don't have a clue), it's patently clear that telecoms have the government in their pocket. Monopoplies are bad for multiple reasons. Geographic monopolies are what cause problem #1 above. Vertically integrated monopolies are what cause problem #2.

I'm a die-hard Netflix user, and have been practically since their streaming service started. One of the reasons that I will NEVER use Hulu is because of their policies. Netflix doesn't care what IP address you have--so long as it's based in the USA. Hulu, on the other hand (which is a vertically-integrated offering), has demonstrated a penchent for discriminating against people on VPN's--even if said VPN is housed in the USA.

I understand (though I don't agree with) the concept of regional lockouts, but Hulu taking it to the step of blocking VPN users is, imho, below the belt.

Blocking content and/or restricting access to it is something that happens in communist China, theocratic Iran, Fascist Russia, or Dictatorial/Totalitarian N.Korea. Stop making this "America, land of the free...everywhere but in cyberspace".

By croc on 7/8/2014 2:47:57 AM , Rating: 4
Allow a major ISP to sue you, beat their lawyers into submission while bankrupting the ISP. Pick up the ISP for chump change, then ???

By MrAwax on 7/8/2014 4:07:36 AM , Rating: 3
Throttling is NOT peering point saturation. However, the later is the MAIN issue in most video services poor quality.

Throttling is the real issue of net neutrality. That is even if the ISP has the physical capacity to transport the stream, it will specifically target a specific traffic to limit its performances.

Peering point saturation is when content providers are piggybacking on outdated agreements between top ISP and network operators. Those agreements where drafted when volume was much lower and "equal" is both directions so it was decided that no fee would be paid for the interconnection. It allowed some tier 1 operators to resell those "all-you-can-eat" interconnection to content providers like Netflix at bargain prices while ISP are marketing direct interconnection points at market price. Both operators in peering point were expected to upgrade their interconnections to match any evolution in the traffic.
However, most of those "peering" points around the world are "peering" to 10-to-1 up to a 20-to-1 ratio in favor of the operator receiving the money from the content providers. So many ISP stopped upgrading their peering capacity at the sole benefit at the tier 1 operator.
Netflix recent "paying" to Comcast is actually switching from a saturated peering point interconnection to a direct interconnection with Comcast, which was what Netflix was already doing with other ISP. So this wasn't ground breaking.

Here, Comcast could eventually impact net neutrality if its contract for a direct interconnection with Netflix was on widely different prices and conditions than with other content providers.

By zlandar on 7/8/2014 10:01:02 AM , Rating: 2
Comon Google or anyone roll out the fiber so we can tell the cable and DSL bloodsuckers to f$*# off.

By kamk44 on 7/8/2014 11:44:18 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder if they could do a simple real time status page. You would put in your zip code and it would list the current average/high/low streaming speed for your area for each ISP. Maybe a simple chart listing the ISPs and the speeds in sets of columns for last 15 min, last hour, last 24 hours, etc.

By Wolfpup on 7/22/2014 11:16:12 AM , Rating: 2
It's normally pretty great, but I had a lot of trouble with Hulu...I'd get interruptions and the like. But was it the fault of Hulu? The Playstation app being poorly coded? My ISP?

Not sure, but it's tempting to think I was being throttled for it...may not be the case though...

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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