Yesterday YouTube launched a new "YouTube video speed dashboard" saying their goal is, "to give you insight into what your YouTube speed looks like compared to the YouTube speed of users in other regions and different ISPs." While that sounds like a nice idea, the results don't actually tell you anything in terms of your "YouTube video speed" or the quality of the video you are viewing. Since the results are not based on the data from an actual stream, YouTube's video speed dashboard is nothing more than a speed test that every other ISP has, which gives you no data on the actual performance of any video being delivered. It simply tells you the size of the pipe available.
YouTube's new speed dashboard says I am at 9.33Mbps, yet myself, and others, still get a lot of video buffering. There is no problem on my end with my ISP, the problem lies with how Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) delivers video. As anyone knows, there are many factors that go into the buffering issue and while the last mile is one issue, it's not the only one. So who cares if YouTube sees that I have a 9.33Mbps connection if the 500Kbps video stream they are sending me isn't working. It's not just about the size of the pipe that matters.
Google says that "A higher YouTube video speed translates to a better and faster experience", but their new speed dashboard does not provide any real-time data or analysis of what the "experience" actually is. On YouTube's blog announcing the new dashboard they ask, "So, what can you do with all of this new data about your video speed?" The answer is easy, nothing. It's completely useless for telling a consumer anything about the video experience they are getting from YouTube.
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