Google is following Netflix’ strategy by introducing a new pop-up bar on YouTube that warns users if their videos fail to stream smoothly- reminding them that they should blame their ISPs rather than the video sharing site.
The notifications pop up on videos that take an excessive amount of time to load or frequently stop mid-way through playback to buffer.
Clicking on the bar takes users to Google’s Video Quality Report page, which provides information on internet service providers, including details on video streaming performance.
On Google’s help page, it explains that “you may be prompted to view the report if you’re experiencing poor playback on your computer (such as frequent rebuffering or fuzzy video).”
Speaking to technology blog Re/code, a YouTube spokesperson said that the new messages aren’t meant to shame ISPs, but rather educated YouTube users about why some videos take forever to load.
Google has a strong interest in deflecting blame for poor video quality. The US government is considering new “net neutrality” regulations that could affect how information, particularly data-heavy streaming video, flows through the internet.
ISPs would like to see more of the responsibility placed on video services like YouTube and Netflix, which account for a growing portion of internet traffic.
Back in May, Netflix started displaying similar in-player video messages that pointed the finger at a user’s ISP whenever a video had trouble loading quickly or wasn’t able to display the highest quality stream.
View the video quality report page here