Google announced an interesting product last year called YouTube Accelerator that aimed to do away with buffering by caching YouTube videos on local networks. Accelerator initially launched in a handful of locations in the Philippines, but now Google is rumored to be dropping Accelerator. Instead, it's just going to work on rolling out faster WiFi in public spaces as part of the Google Station program.
This news comes by way of The Information, which spoke to someone associated with the project. With Accelerator, operators of WiFi networks in places like malls, hospitals and airports had a special Google server that cached the 100,000 top videos on YouTube. When using YouTube while connected to that network, videos with offline versions were indicated with an Accelerator icon. Users could watch those videos with almost no buffering.
YouTube Accelerator never expanded beyond the Philippines, but Google has talked about bringing it to India. However, the company is apparently looking at a different way to lessen buffering that doesn't require custom hardware. The solution may be Google Station, an initiative in India to deploy fast WiFi hotspots. Google won't sell hardware to anyone, but it will reportedly offer an online management console to hotspot operators. So, keep an eye out for some announcements on this front.
- The Information