Sometime in the past few days, YouTube started showing a new error bar on slow-loading videos. "Experiencing interruptions? Find out why," it implores. Clicking through takes you to Google's Video Quality Report page, comparing streaming quality of your local ISPs. If your provider's slow, Google wants you to know.
The Video Quality Report has been around for a few months, but the blue error bar that leads you there seems to be new. It comes off a lot like Netflix's ISP-shaming slow-load messages, which appeared out of nowhere but have since disappeared amid lawsuits from ISPs.
But YouTube's take on stream-shaming actually offers you some actual data, whereas Netflix's stunt basically consisted of the streaming site shrugging and saying "it's not my fault, it's [ISP]'s fault!" Google's Video Quality Report tells you which providers consistently offer uninterrupted HD, SD, or crap-D streaming in your area. You can even pick different locations to compare your streaming with your friends who have fibre or whatever.
Is that data really useful? Hard to say—the graphs on the Video Quality Report aren't labelled with any kind of numerical value, so the best you can do is figure out which time of day is worst for streaming, and do a non-numerical comparison of which ISP is doing best in your neck of the woods. Still, it's kind of nice to see ISPs feeling some pressure to perform better, even if it comes across a little petty and finger-pointy. [Google Video Quality Report via Quartz]