Google has confirmed that it is indeed looking at changing the video streaming resolution on its platform all around the world, as internet networks are potentially under the risk of getting overloaded. Millions of people are working from home around the world, and broadband as well as mobile networks are now seeing additional traffic of video calls as well. For India, specifically, YouTube has confirmed they are downgrading the default resolution from HD or Ultra HD to Standard Definition (SD), at least on mobile networks thus far. This change will be in force till April 14, unless things change along the way. Interestingly, even Google hasn’t noticed any change in peak YouTube usage just because more people are working from home.
"We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation. Last week, we announced that we were temporarily defaulting all videos on YouTube to standard definition in the EU. Given the global nature of this crisis, we will expand that change globally starting today,” says a Google spokesperson in a statement shared with News18. YouTube says that in India, they will In India, temporarily default the streams from HD and ultra-HD to SD content at bitrates no higher than 480p on mobile networks.
YouTube says that for the most part, their logs show little change in the peaks, and have mostly seen changes in usage patterns from more people at home now expanding across additional hours and lower usage peaks. That in no way poses any risk of bringing a internet network down to its knees, but they say they are still taking this action globally to minimize stress on the systems.
In India, YouTube is also adding a new promo card on the Homepage which links to the website of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) of the Government of India, so that users have the correct and up-to-date confirmed information about the Coronavirus spread in India. They say search results and videos about coronavirus now also appear alongside information from reliable sources including the WHO, and there will be curated playlists with videos on topics that include tips for preventing spread of the virus as well as how to work from home more effectively.