Online DVD renter and Stock Advisor pick Netflix
The idea is simple: Start typing your search terms, and Netflix tries to guess what you're looking for before you're done typing. It's a real-time thing, very Web 2.0, and it should now be much easier to find tricky titles like Akeelah and the Bee or Plein Soleil.
The new tool is hardly perfect, though. It doesn't work for the names of directors or actors, so you'd better remember how to spell "Kinnear" or "Shyamalan" on your own. And even in film titles, there's still more work to do: The look-ahead function appears to check only against the first couple of words of every title. Start typing "Fellow ..." in the hopes of finding The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, for example, and you end up with only Fellowship of the Dice. The actual results page will still list LOTR as the third choice, but that's hardly intuitive, given the behavior of the search box.
Still, it's an improvement, and anything that makes it easier to find the movies we're looking for should improve the customer experience at Netflix. It should also lead to better word-of-mouth advertising and maybe a lower defection/turnover rate. If the company really wanted to juice up the search tool, though, I'd take a look at Amazon's
Netflix could still keep its simple and pretty good search as is, and just add an "advanced search" option to the side, the way IMDB and Google already do. As it is, the magic of Firefox add-ins lets me do movie searches at IMDB and add what I find there to my Netflix queue in a couple of clicks. I just feel bad for all the poor Internet Explorer users out there who don't have that luxury.
Then again, you need a Microsoft
Netflix and Amazon.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations, and Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Stream stock selections from either service for 30 days, with no strings attached.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Netflix and Google but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure will always make you happy, no matter how obscure your wishes and dreams.