Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Transparent Internet

I feel so strongly about this that it deserves a post all its own.

Plugged-in geeks have known for a while now that ISPs like Comcast are throttling the internet. They sometimes assign their unknowing customers into tiers, providing better bandwidth for those that pay more. Some ISPs are putting limits on the amount of bandwidth customers can consume continuously, to cut down on music and movie downloads that are ostensibly choking their networks.

Unfortunately for many of us, there is no clue why our YouTube videos take longer to load, or why the streaming Netflix movie or TV show we're trying to watch stutters. Until now.

Google, in an extremely bold move, is stepping up and providing the means to find out if it might be your computer or your ISP network configuration. Instead of forcing alpha geeks and technical think tanks to be our whistleblowers, Google is taking the fight for internet transparency to the streets. To us.

Google's new Measurement Lab has (and is adding) tools that make it relatively easy to test your connection. The only drawback is you might have to install or update Java in order to use the tools.

This is a big deal.

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