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Netflix Is Testing a Shuffle Play Button

By Danny Vena – Aug 18, 2020 at 5:53PM

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Much to the surprise of its users, Netflix (NFLX -2.04%) is testing a new "shuffle" feature for viewers having a difficult time deciding what to watch, according to a report that first appeared in TechCrunch. The feature can be activated by pressing a "Shuffle Play" button that appears on the Netflix landing page below the user profile icons.

Once the button is pressed, the feature will play content at random that the system believes the viewer will like. Netflix said this could include a program that's currently being watched, something from the viewer's queue, or a program that's inspired by a recent viewing choice. The feature was designed to help subscribers quickly and easily find something to watch that they're likely to enjoy. The test began rolling out to select users over the past month and has thus far only appeared on televisions, not making the jump to mobile devices.

Man pointing remote at a TV.

Image source: Getty Images.

Netflix users on Twitter (TWTR) had mixed feelings about the addition. One user called it "amazing and helpful for my indecisive self." Another called it "the most chaotic feature I can think of?" Still another said "Let the game of risk commence." Yet another described the feature as "the definition of chaotic evil." Apparently the jury is still out.

It's worth noting that this isn't the first time Netflix has toyed with the notion of a shuffle feature. In 2019, the company tested the ability to pick a show and then have the specific episode chosen at random. Netflix also tried out a "Play Something" option on the navigation menu. Apparently neither worked out as well as the company would have liked, as both have been discontinued.

This is merely the latest in a long line of tests from Netflix as it works to continually improve the user experience.

Danny Vena owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix and Twitter. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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