Posted February 12, 2010 2:13 pm by with 0 comments

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And thus concludes probably the only time in my life I’ll intentionally quote Top Gun.

Yesterday, YouTube released a Speed Dashboard to clock how fast your video downloads are coming through. In addition to displaying your Internet speed, the dashboard also offers comparative data. For example:

The comparative data comes from not only other customers of your ISP but other YouTube users in your neighborhood with different ISPs—in case you wanted to know just how fast the Joneses can watch the latest Weezer single.

Says YouTube:

The goal with this dashboard is to give you insight into what your YouTube speed looks like compared to the YouTube speed of users in other regions and different ISPs. We may also list the YouTube speeds for users in you neighborhood but with different ISPs. The speed numbers are calculated by measuring the speed at which YouTube video is received by the browser. This is then averaged over the previous 30 days provided you’ve used the same browser during this time period.

It’s always good to check up on your ISP and make sure you’re getting Internet speed in the tier you’re paying for—and to compare other ISPs if you want a faster connection. But speed isn’t apples to apples when it comes to Internet subscriptions: YouTube doesn’t tell you how much they’re paying, what else they’re using their bandwidth for while viewing videos, or how much bandwidth they’re paying for

What do you think? Will YouTube help people to switch, or ISPs to speed up the Internet?