YouTube plays a la Netflix, blames ISPs for buffering videos
Google's YouTube has started blaming internet service providers for slow-loading videos, in a move similar to what Netflix has done.
Videos that do not play smoothly on YouTube will show a blue bar pop-up underneath that says "Experiencing interruptions?" Clicking on the button labeled "Find out why" will take users to Google's Video Quality Report page, which shows the video playback quality for the user's internet service provider.
It is not clear when YouTube began using the pop-ups that link to the Video Quality Report, which is currently only available for the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
Google is defecting the blame of slow-loading videos to internet service providers amid proposals by the United States government for "net neutrality" regulations. These new regulations could change how data, including streaming video, flows through the Internet.
In response to these proposed regulations, internet service providers are pushing for more responsibilities to be placed upon video-streaming services such as YouTube and Netflix, which are the cause of an increasing portion of online traffic.
Netflix recently has also been blaming internet service providers for video service interruptions. Slow video playback led to a display of the message "The Verizon network is crowded right now," to which Verizon has threatened Netflix of filing legal action as the provider said that the message is "deliberately misleading."
While the pop-up that YouTube uses is not as direct as the message used by Netflix, it is there for the same purpose, which is to point the finger at internet service providers when videos are slow to load and that it is not YouTube's fault.
As per Google, the responsibility to maintain the capacities of Internet infrastructures so that users can continue to enjoy high-quality video streaming falls on the internet service providers. However, the providers responded by saying that network traffic is inevitable with video services causing congested data routes within the network.
The United States Federal Communications Commission announced plans of Internet "fast lanes" back in April. Internet companies will be able to utilize "fast lanes" by paying a certain fee to internet service providers for faster connectivity in streaming content. The FCC has since been criticized for its plans, with lawmakers currently proposing legislation that would prohibit providers from charging companies for priority in Internet traffic.
Google and Netflix, instead of focusing its efforts on laws and regulations, have taken its message to public relations, now showcasing how their services work across different providers. In addition to Google's Video Quality Report, Netflix also has an ISP Index that reports for providers in over 20 countries.
Google also has its "YouTube HD Verified" seal of approval, that is gives to providers that give excellent video streaming service.