Netflix
(Photo : pexels/freestocks.org) Netflix app new feature to roll out this year

Popular streaming service Netflix is always searching for ways to improve their service and to connect to their users. Every now and then, Netflix would introduce a feature that will make watching more convenient.

This time around, Netflix did a test focus on solving one of the issues that users have, and that is wasting time unsuccessfully scrolling through the programming options. Now Netflix has introduced a solution, and that is Shuffle Play, a feature that is said to be distributed worldwide this year.

Netflix Shuffle Play feature

In the Q4 2020 earnings that was announced on January 19, Netflix touched the product development topic briefly. It referred to a test of a new feature that gives the users the ability to choose to instantly watch a title that is chosen for them, instead of browsing. It also noted that the feature would reach all Netflix users worldwide in the first half of 2021.

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According to TechCrunch, the said feature is Shuffle Play, which was first introduced back in August 2020. However, Netflix has not released the official name of the feature yet.

Shuffle Play is a massive button right on the home screen of the Netflix app, beneath your profile icon. When you click it, Netflix will randomly play a content based on the algorithms that matches what you've previously watched, according to MacRumors.

This could include a movie that you are currently watching, a movie or TV show that is saved on your watch list or a movie or TV show that is similar to what you have watched before.

A variation can also be seen in the TV app's sidebar navigation. Recently, the sidebar option was relabeled as "Shuffle Play" instead of "Play Something".

Aside from that feature, you can also start scrolling through the Netflix home screen on the TV, you will eventually come across a screen that explains what the option is for and it will point to a new button with a red arrow. This button has already appeared on the Netflix app for TV devices on some users, due to the ongoing tests.

User response

According to a letter from Netflix to the shareholders, the response to Shuffle Play has been mostly positive. However, Netflix does not make its decisions based on what social media users said about the feature, but rather in how the users actually used the product.

The feature is also still being tested on TV devices, and it has not branched out to other platforms yet like mobile or web. Netflix has not stated how many users or what percentage had been opted into the test to date.

Shuffle Play is one of the long list of tests that Netflix did to make streaming easier for users. In 2019, Netflix tried out a shuffle mode that lets you click on a popular show to start playing an episode. This feature, however, does not work on all types of shows.

Netflix has also promoted shows on the login screen and as screensavers, and has autoplayed previews until 2020, when it finally listened to users' petition to turn the feature off, according to The New York Times.

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Written by Sieeka Khan

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