Google offers "neutrality" testing tool

Google has launched a web-based tool that can tell users if their broadband service is being throttled by their ISP.


The company has joined forces with the Open Technology Institute and PlanetLab to offer tools that will help net users test whether their ISP is blocking or shaping any of their applications.


The newly-created Measurement Lab (M-Lab) will include tools that allow users to measure the speed of their connection and run diagnostics. All data collected will be made publicly available to other researchers.


M-Lab has been set up with 36 servers in 12 locations in the US and Europe.


The aim of the project is to sustain the internet as an open platform for consumer choice and innovation, states Google's official blog.


"No matter your views on net neutrality and ISP network management practices, everyone can agree that internet users deserve to be well-informed about what they're getting when they sign up for broadband," wrote Vint Cerf, Google's chief internet evangelist.


But GigaOM commentator Stacey Higginbotham believes M-Lab forms part of Google's overall fight to control revenue generation of the web. Google is hoping to collect enough information on ISPs to leverage control over the last mile, the last area it does not yet control, she said.