My Google piece in The Register

Thanks to the miracle of trans-Atlantic collaborative journalism, here’s my quick take on Google’s caching scheme:

Network Neutrality, the public policy unicorn that’s been the rallying cry for so many many on the American left for the last three years, took a body blow on Sunday with the Wall Street Journal’s disclosure that the movement’s sugar-daddy has been playing both sides of the fence.

The Journal reports that Google “has approached major cable and phone companies that carry Internet traffic with a proposal to create a fast lane for its own content.”

Google claims that it’s doing nothing wrong, and predictably accuses the Journal of writing a hyperbolic piece that has the facts all wrong. It’s essentially correct. Google is doing nothing that Akamai doesn’t already do, and nothing that the ISPs and carriers don’t plan to do to reduce the load that P2P puts on their transit connections.

A lot of questions remain about Google’s public policy flexibility and how wise their server farm strategy has been, and we’ll deal with them as Google answers our questions.

4 thoughts on “My Google piece in The Register”

  1. “YouTube, which accounts for some 20 per cent of the Internet’s video traffic and was recently upgraded to a quasi-HD level of service”

    YouTube doesn’t even try to call their HQ service HD and it’s for good reason. We’re talking about roughly double the bitrate of normal YouTube which is 640 Kbps. That’s not even quasi-SD much less quasi-HD. SD video is 2 Mbps.

  2. We find that 640 Kbps is actually too little to guarantee that “normal” YouTube will stream adequately, due to the poor design of the player.

  3. Have you taken a look at Netflix streaming? They seem to employ an adaptive system that adjusts to available bitrate. This would benefit enormously from edge caching, and they’re just the kind of company that should be saving its pennies to take a run at it on a large scale.

  4. Netflix gives you the bitrate you can handle. If all you got is 3 Mbps broadband, they’ll give you a 2.5 Mbps stream. If you have 6 Mbps broadband is faster, they take you all the way up to 4 Mbps.

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