Google joins Netflix in the ISP rating game, says its report is more comprehensive

With even more dogs in the hunt than Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), given that it's slowly rolling out a high-speed broadband service, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) on Thursday announced its own ISP ratings report through its YouTube division.

The Google Video Quality Report breaks down ISP quality in individual markets based on the level of streaming performance: an "HD Verified" rating means the provider supports streaming of 720p resolution without buffering or interruptions, while a "Standard Definition" rating means that the service's performance is OK for 360p. "Lower Definition" is for speeds too low to play back 360p resolution video images without buffering.

As FierceOnlineVideo editor Samantha Bookman notes, the individual market data can be very compelling to consumers. In Boston, for example, only four of the seven operating ISPs are currently rated "HD Verified," according to Google.

Explaining its methodology, Google touts superiority over Netflix's ISP Speed Index, claiming it broadly culls data from cable operators, telcos and other broadband service providers, while Netflix relies purely on its own data.

"Rather than being based on data from a small sample of users, this report is based on billions of YouTube videos watched across thousands of ISPs," Google notes.

As a platform, YouTube is second only to Netflix in peak-period bandwidth usage on North American broadband networks, according to research conducted in March by Sandvine, accounting for 13 percent of usage compared to 34 percent for Netflix.

But beyond keeping tabs of which ISPs are delivering its programming best, Google's new report might have marketing benefits for the company, as it continues to roll out its super-fast Google Fiber ISP service. 

For more:
- see this Google site
- see this FierceOnlineVideo story
- see this Gigaom story
- see this Variety story

Related links:
Comcast hits No. 3 spot in Netflix rankings, but Canadian ISPs trump U.S. speeds
Windstream being investigated for overpromising broadband speeds
YouTube, one of pay TV's biggest threats, finally gets a challenger
Netflix deals with Verizon, Comcast aren't helping net neutrality, but does that matter?
Time Warner Cable boosts broadband speeds in Los Angeles, NYC