Google's Vint Cerf just announced on the company's blog that it has launched an initiative called M-Lab aimed at testing end users' Internet connections for various types of interferences. Consumers can use M-Lab's servers to test whether their ISPs block Bittorrent, among other things. From the Google Blog:

"Over the course of early 2009, Google will provide researchers with 36 servers in 12 locations in the U.S. and Europe. All data collected via M-Lab will be made publicly available for other researchers to build on."

Google is cooperating with established research projects to get M-Lab going, and one of the projects that benefits from the search giant's server power is Glasnost - a web-based tool that aims to find IP-based interference for Bittorrent file transfers.

Glasnost was launched almost a year ago as an easy-to-use tool to detect Comcast-style interference with Bittorrent, and it has proven to be hugely popular, which has sometimes resulted in overloaded servers. Google's infrastructure should help alleviate some of these problems and also draw more attention to ISPs that do block Bittorrent, which in turn could help to keep the whole net neutrality debate in the public spotlight. From Google's announcement:

"Transparency has always been crucial to the success of the Internet, and, by advancing network research in this area, M-Lab aims to help sustain a healthy, innovative Internet."

Tags: , , , , ,