Google measures ISP network performance

Wondering if your Internet Service Provider is blocking or throttling applications? Google wonders too, and has launched Measurement Lab (M-Lab) with non-profit New America and various academics in support.

M-lab is an open, distributed server platform (Google, distributed servers, OK) for researchers to deploy Internet measurement tools. Google has loaded the software tools to 37 servers across the U.S. and Europe. The publicly stated goal of M-Lab is to advance network research and "empower the public with useful information about their broadband connections."  

More simply for consumers, M-Lab lets users look at the speeds of their Internet connections and hopefully spot/view where applications might be blocked or slowed by their ISP. On a larger level, Google and academic researchers can get a better and more global snapshot of how the Internet is performing between its servers and the end users.  

Of course, there's also a shame and policy factor involved here. If an ISP is spotted blocking or slowing an application, its users can go dial up the nearest blogger and stir up a lot of bad press to put pressure on the service provider. The policy factor is to allow Google to openly collect data on its own operations to fight spurious accusations from telecoms, such as that the search giant uses 21 times more bandwidth than it pays for.

For more:
- ComputerWorld says Vint is watching. Article.

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