To further YouTube's goal to get more people to watch its videos in high-definition, Google's video giant on Thursday released a new tool that analyzes your video stream quality.
The Google Video Quality Report is available to people in the US and Canada, where it launched in January. It compares your streaming video quality to three standards: HD Verified, when your provider can deliver HD video consistently at a resolution of at least 720p without buffering or interruptions; Standard Definition, for consistent video streaming at 360p; and Lower Definition, for videos that regularly play at less than 360p or often are interrupted.
YouTube said in a blog post announcing the tool's US availability that it is respectful of its users' privacy, and anonymize the data gathered. The ratings are "centered around networks, not users," no user data is stored, and samples are anonymized, the report says of its methodology.
Google says it will expand the report's range to more countries in the coming months, although perhaps the real solution to buffering problems will be the expansion of gigabit Internet access in the coming years. For now, the report suggests seven tips for improving your streaming video quality, including some common sense measures such as making sure your roommates aren't hogging your bandwidth and moving closer to your Wi-Fi router.