To the internet generation, YouTube represents what cable TV represented for the old school… Although I am pretty good at staying away from social media outside of work, this is the one website that I can’t seem to get away from. From documentaries, to news, to live sports, there is no better single source for video entertainment… This is why YouTube is currently the world’s second biggest search engine (after Google of course). So why does their buffering and streaming seems to be suddenly slowing down?
Historically speaking YouTube has always provided a good user experience, which is why I was surprised that for the past couple of weeks the streaming and buffering of their videos became unexpectedly slow. My first thought was that I had some spyware on my computer which was causing the problem, however looking at peoples comments I noticed that others were having the exact same problem. Just read what people are saying on Twitter:
The only reason I spend so much time on youtube is because my internet's is so slow, it takes forever to buffer videos.
— Nin Come Poop (@FlatYouLance) September 15, 2013
anyone else having youtube issues. being very slow for me and refusing to buffer
— Alexander Prue (@GreeneTzu) September 13, 2013
Two monitors because I have to load YouTube on one while I'm loading YouTube on another. Buffering cost me $90.
— Gage Matthieu. (@gageinsideyou) September 18, 2013
Life is too short to wait youtube buffering video.
— Ratih Javariani (@ratihjavariani) September 14, 2013
But What Can I Do To Speed Up Youtube?
Meet YouTube Feather, a beta version of what is essentially a lower bandwidth version of the regular site. It cuts out comments and other unnecessary features in order to speed up performance… just what I need. The beautiful thing about it is, when you are watching a video it gives you the option of reverting back to the regular layout, so turning the settings on and off is quite simple. I should note it does disable certain features such as comments, embed buttons, etc. But I’m sure anybody would sacrifice that in order to prevent their videos from randomly stopping…
Since my internet connection is quite fast, I was quite skeptical that turning off a few features would speed up my YouTube videos at all. However, I noticed immediate improvement after I made the switch. If you are experiencing the same lack of speed and interested in speeding up your video viewing experience, simple sign in with your regular login on the YouTube Feather Beta Website.
It’s great to see the YT team working on providing an alternative for those experiencing this problem; however I can’t help but wonder why they don’t just fix it altogether. Since YouTube is owned by Google, you would think they are making enough money to upgrade their servers to avoid the issue… at least for those of us who are on ultra-fast internet connections. They may have done that for their ads, because even when the video seems to be stalling the ads seem to play just fine…
What do you think? Am I complaining for nothing or do you think YouTube needs to speed it up? Let me know your thoughts.