Google supercharges YouTube with a custom video chip

From CNET: To keep YouTube humming, Google has developed a custom chip to keep YouTube called Argos that's designed to deliver the best video quality and keep you from blowing through your broadband or mobile monthly data caps.

Thousands of the chips are running in Google data centers right now, Google revealed to CNET in an exclusive interview. If you upload a video today, it's almost certain that an Argos chip will process it so it can be streamed all over the world. One specific benefit: when it processes high-resolution 4K video, it can be available to watch in hours instead of the days it previously took.

Google detailed its Argos chips for the first time at the ASPLOS Conference on Wednesday. A team of about 100 Google engineers designed the first-generation chips starting in 2015, said Scott Silver, the Google vice president of engineering who oversees YouTube's massive infrastructure. In recent months, Google began phasing in its second-generation Argos chips that push video compression another step forward, too.

"Customers have to pay for bandwidth one way or another," Silver said. "Our goal is to make sure people can get the highest quality video on whatever device they have."

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