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A new tool from Google made available Thursday shows the average quality of YouTube videos being delivered via various Internet service providers. How does yours fare?
The "Video Quality Report" comes from a national behind-the-scenes poll at Google-owned YouTube, which took information on viewers' location and ISP and combined it with the video quality and load time.
It's presented in a slightly confusing chart: The height of the graph represents the total amount of videos being watched in an ISP's service area (for example, CenturyLink in Seattle, or Sonic in San Francisco). It rises and falls with the hours of the day, often peaking in the late evening.
But the colors are the part you want to pay attention to, since they represent how many of those videos being watched were of a given quality: dark blue is HD, light blue is standard def, and grey everything else.
Google uses all that data to grade ISPs, awarding "HD Verified" to ones that can provide a consistent high-definition video experience. If you're curious about everyday performance of nearby broadband operators, this could be a good place to start.
The methodology page has more information on the process of collecting and sorting all that information, but it's rather technical. The company also published a video (on YouTube, naturally) showing in a simpler, more visual way how data is delivered.