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Google Spends $1 Million For Throttling Detection 99

foamrat writes "Google has awarded $1 million to Georgia Tech researchers so that they can develop simple tools to detect Internet throttling, government censorship, and other 'transparency' problems."
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Google Spends $1 Million For Throttling Detection

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  • "Did your phone call end without a complete sentence? Please post the sentence fragment."

  • by James_Duncan8181 ( 588316 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @04:18PM (#35578496) Homepage
    Say what you like about them, but I'm hoping they'll bring this idealistic side out to play more now Eric has been given the elbow. Eric openly admitted that he was the most gung-ho on China of the leadership team, and I have to say I trust Sergey rather more and am a bit happier that he's 50% of the decision-making again.
    • Re:Google (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @04:54PM (#35579014) Journal
      I don't trust Google's altruism further than I can throw it(though it is likely that the founders are better than the outside CEO in that regard...); but it is somewhat convenient that Google's business model and business interests happen to be fairly strongly aligned with most of the internet's virtues.

      It cannot be ignored that they want to data-mine you to dump ad impressions down your consumer gullet; but this does mean that they view anybody else trying to do so as "competition" rather than "our bestest buddies in profit"(as with ISPs and Phorm/NSA for instance).

      Similarly, their desire to operate communications services without hindrance is not identical to an ideological stance in favor of freedom; but the end results are substantially closer than are those of entities that wish to hinder communications services in order to raise prices, or prevent "piracy", or the like.

      I don't trust them; but I would say that their self-interest aligns atypically well with much(though certainly not all) of what would want from the ideal internet. I do trust them to follow their self interest. I would certainly prefer the internet according to some genuinely freedom-focused entity; but those tend to be penniless ragtag optimists, rather than corporate behemoths....
      • Bravo, good sir. I wish I had mod points for you.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ShakaUVM ( 157947 )

        It's always funny to watch an anti-corporate person trying to pay a compliment to a corporation without appearing hypocritical.

        • Re:Google (Score:4, Insightful)

          by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @06:43PM (#35580212) Journal

          What's funny about it? He's basically saying that Google (mostly) does things that he likes, just not for the reasons he'd like them to. It's a perfectly reasonable position to take.

          • >>What's funny about it?

            It's funny in the same way as trying to watch a Republican say something nice about Obama. He hates corporations, but has to bend over backwards before saying something nice about one.

        • It's not nearly as funny as watching people whine and complain about a system of elected rich old fucks fucking over everyone else in favor of a system of unelected rich old fucks fucking over everyone else. You see by constructing a neutered paper tiger and calling it government, then calling the actual government something else, all of a sudden everyone is magically free from government, or something.

        • Re:Google (Score:5, Interesting)

          by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @08:16PM (#35581206) Journal
          I'm curious to know what about my post marks it as "anti-corporate". As best I can tell, I started from a wholly orthodox account of how corporations operate and worked from there.

          Corporations are complex systems designed to serve the (typically financial) interests of their owners. Within the limits imposed by the principal-agent problem, this is supposed to mean that the people who run the corporation serve the interests of the shareholders, by some combination of upping stock prices or issuing dividends.

          Because of that, trying to infer the behavior of a corporation from the human motives of the guys at the top is typically going to be a bad model: one should instead expect that the corporation will act in the interests of its shareholders.

          I was under the impression that that was pretty much the standard model of corporate behavior. If that counts as "anti-corporate"(rather than, say, somebody actually challenging the notion of 'limited liability investments', or even just asserting that having mercilessly self-interested entities around is a bad idea...), then what kind of bowing and scraping would I need to engage in to be "pro corporate"?
          • One problem is that as the size of a corporation increases, the influences on its behavior may become dominated by principal-agent problems and specific motivations of individuals within the corporation. It's easy for the members of a ten-person startup to keep "increasing shareholder value" in mind, but in a ten-thousand-person company, a middle manager or mid-ranking engineer may be much more interested in his or her next quarterly review or promotion.

            Furthermore, the internal economy of a large corporat

          • You'd have to happily submit to the corporation and willingly, nay, smilingly hand over your dough and your data, then drop your pants and bend over in case any of the janitors feel like assrape. The CEO obviously can buy better ass than yours with the cash you just gave him.

            Your grasp of the situation is pretty apt, and you put it more eloquently than I ever could. Good work :-)

      • In other words, they're allies, but allies of convenience only, and we should be wary that they'll stab us in the back as soon as it's in their interests.

        Which, logically, means that we should be planning to stab their back first. Might I suggest hiding something nasty (for them, at least) in the GPL v4?
        • I would argue that, just as "trusting" Google means putting an excessively human face on a non-human construct, the notion of Google "stabbing us in the back" does as well.

          Barring executive bungling, Google can reasonably be expected to continuously act in its perceived interests. On the minus side, this means tracking you to operate their advertising operations. On the plus side, this means viewing others who would wish to do so as competitors, and a comparatively high unwillingness to "play ball" in or
      • by Asdanf ( 1281936 )
        Hard way to do good as a business:
        1. 1. Consciously try to do good every day, despite business interests to the contrary.

        Easier way to do good as a business:

        1. 1. Align your corporate business model with good things.
        2. 2. Follow the business model.

        In other words, maybe it's because of Google's founders' altruism that you now don't have to trust Google's altruism.

  • Boot Strapping... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @04:19PM (#35578518)

    a suite of Web-based, Internet-scale measurement tools that any user around the world could access for free

    So, what happens if the Web-based suite is throttled or censored?

    • That would, one suspects, make throttling and censorship pretty easy to detect...

      That's the handy thing about such a tool: unless fantastically mal-architected, it is pretty likely that anybody who messes with access to it is up to no good. The real target is those who try to keep their hands clean while simultaneously bringing out the iron fist.
    • a suite of Web-based, Internet-scale measurement tools that any user around the world could access for free

      So, what happens if the Web-based suite is throttled or censored?

      You'd think the tool wouldn't be throttled at all. Censored maybe, but why throttled? Better to promote the connection to any speed checking sites and give the user a false sense of fulfillment.

    • by jd ( 1658 )

      What they are doing is re-inventing the Internet Weather stations that have existed for a decade or so. (Think MRTG but on a much larger scale and with rather more sophisticated output.)

      Well, ok, they're maybe adding in the capabilities of the open-source pchar [] utility, which gives you the packet loss and maximum throughput of every hop between any two points on the net.

      Throw in the Internet Routing Registry Toolset [] and you've a complete system.

      Tell you what, if Google is going to give a million bucks for a

      • by CFTM ( 513264 )

        So on what grounds do you have more credibility than Georgia Tech? I mean you've basically just called GT Researchers frauds and snake oil salesmen, so is that backed by any evidence?

        I'm not expert in this field, nor an expert on "Internet Weather Stations" so I won't even try to assess the applicability of these tools. I'm sure if packaged correctly they could be a viable suite to do what you say, and if it is so easy why don't you go monetize it?

        And sure if a government entity had won this award, I'd ag

  • by GFLPraxis ( 745118 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @04:19PM (#35578528) Homepage Journal
    The easier to detect, the harder it is for ISP's to keep such practices out of the spotlight.
  • How long until they are labeled as evil terrorists by some government or corporate overlords for funding such tools.

    Unfortunately I am only half joking with.

  • I for one... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aighearach ( 97333 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @04:20PM (#35578548) Homepage

    Really appreciate that google consistently places them in the proper position of an infrastructure provider, setting up their monetization to be supported by open, fair access.

    I don't trust "intent," but I do trust a business that is set up to maximize profit when things are best for the "little guy."

    Their APIs are a joy to work with, too.

  • by DarthVain ( 724186 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @04:21PM (#35578552)

    If Country = "Canada"
          Then Print "Yes, you're are being throttled!"
    Elseif Country = "China"
          Then Print "Yes, you're being censored, I hope you can read English or this will be really confusing!"

  • Apps for that hould have been out long ago.
  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @04:23PM (#35578590) Homepage
    DAMN! Throttled again... That's Google's project right there. Hiring 1000's of first posters and measuring the delay!
  • Wasn't there a page/site that did this awhile back? I seem to recall that there was. I can't remember if it was related to a university or not.

  • Some are not going to be happy if this gets through. I know mine (Rogers, ON, CA) is keep saying they do not throttle any traffic despite very frequent user complaints. Yes they happen to be one of the biggest Cable TV providers in Ontario as well and also to have the full support of CRTC in whatever they do. It's not going to have any effect but at least they'll be forced to admit it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I also live in Ontario, Canada. I was on Rogers until about a month ago when I got fed up of their throttling. I switched to Teksavvy cable, which rents/leases the bandwidth from Rogers. As soon as the switch happened I noticed a HUGE difference in my download and upload speeds, and this was before I switched to the new cable modem that I bought from Teksavvy! The comparison is like night and day.

      Proof enough that Rogers throttles? It's obvious to me and anyone else thinking logically. How they can deny tha

      • >Criminal behaviour, if you ask me.

        Rogers, Shaw, Bell and Telus should be illegal but hookers and blow gets your company anything you want, even the politicians.

  • OK, maybe just a bit more than these ancient tools, but _really_? GOOG have some of the phattest pipes around and ought to be monitoring RTT and bandwidth variations all on their own.

    Or rather, I'm severely disappointed they're not already monitoring. Or maybe they are, and this is just dezinformatzia.

  • by seifried ( 12921 ) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @04:56PM (#35579022) Homepage
    A lot of what looks like throttling (especially of latency sensitive applications like VOIP) may actually be buffer bloat - [], so while not malicious the end effect is the same (stuff that should work, doesn't).
  • Comcast must be shitting their pants right about now.

    • by Rudolf ( 43885 )

      Comcast must be shitting their pants right about now.
      Why? Someone might find out they're throttling? I thought everyone knew that already.

  • [], requires Java. I personally used this tool to benchmark some consumer router/firewall gear, to find most of it takes 100-300ms to make DNS lookups (which explained why web surfing felt so slow through these things, all the DNS requests were taking about 6x longer than they should).
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The full press release with more information (including attribution to Nick Feamster on this project, who has past work in both anti-censorship and developing network neutrality tools) is here:

  • Seriously. Google has done little or nothing to get itself out from under blatant censorship by the Chinese government. Just what are they going to do when every backbone dangler is subtly manipulating mercantile network traffic for their own profit? Wave vague statistics at them?

  • "You WILL see our advertising!"

  • While Google is making nice press with their "good" things, they're still running their recently introduced service where they report China based VPN users to the Chinese government, incl. what they search for. No other search engine does this. Google has gone form great to most evil in my book, just because of this. I've posted this to a number of places, but nobody seems to care about the lives of people who use VPN's in China and the risk of the Chinese government being made aware of the controversial th

  • It will only cost you 5$ and i can tell you who already throttles right now.....the UK, []

    wow putting 2 and 2 together is a great payday.

Someday somebody has got to decide whether the typewriter is the machine, or the person who operates it.