updated 08:24 am EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
Blue warning notices appear under buffering YouTube videos, linking to a quality report
Google is taking a leaf out of Netflix's playbook, by hinting to YouTube users that their Internet service provider (ISP) is slow or poor. A new blue banner stating "Experiencing interruptions?" has started to appear underneath YouTube clips when users experience buffering or poor quality video, along with a link to the search company's YouTube Quality Report.
A support page advises that viewers will be shown the notifications when they have poor video quality, reports Quartz, with the link taking users to their ISP's results page in the YouTube Quality Report, allowing them to compare their ISP against others operating in the area. The report has been available since January for users in Canada, and only recently expanded to cover the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, with Google planning to make the report cover more of the world as time goes on.
The direct calling-out of ISPs by Google and YouTube does echo that of Netflix, which directly named the ISP as the cause of slow connections when it was forced to change stream quality, as part of a test. Verizon, one of the ISPs named by the streaming service, fought back with a cease and desist, though Netflix objected to Verizon's attempt to shift the blame onto its connections. Unlike Netflix, Google's notification directly points users to data it has collected, allowing them to make up their own mind over who's to blame.