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Netflix launches a shuffle feature called ‘Play Something’ — I’m not impressed

The feature uses algorithms to recommend your next show

Netflix launches a shuffle feature called ‘Play Something’ — I’m not impressed
Thomas Macaulay
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Thomas Macaulay

Writer at Neural by TNW — Thomas covers AI in all its iterations. Likes Werner Herzog films and Arsenal FC. Writer at Neural by TNW — Thomas covers AI in all its iterations. Likes Werner Herzog films and Arsenal FC.

Netflix has much garbage on it that I often spend more time searching for shows than actually watching them. Nowadays, I frequently give up hunting and do something more productive instead, like reading or collecting lint from my belly button.

But doomscrolling through Netflix’s catalog is no longer the only way to find those rare nuggets of gold. After years of testing, the streaming behemoth has finally launched a shuffle button that lets an algorithm do the digging instead.

Imaginatively named “Play Something,” the feature recommends shows based on your viewing history.

Click the button and Netflix will play a series or film that the recommendation system thinks you’ll enjoy. If you’re not impressed by the suggestion, keep hitting “Play Something Else,” and you’ll hopefully find something tolerable before your thumbs fall off.

[Read: 3 new technologies ecommerce brands can use to connect better with customers]

Play Something is now available worldwide on Netflix’s TV app, and will launch on Android devices soon. You can find it beneath your profile name, on the tenth row of your Netflix homepage, or in the navigation menu on the left of your screen.

Netflix is making a bit deal out of the launch. The company has produced an excruciating trailer for Play Something, featuring an anthropomorphized TV remote “joking” that viewers can no longer control what they watch.

The ad almost made me cancel my subscription in disgust, but I bravely gave Play Something a go instead.

Netflix, please play something else

First up, Play Something recommends the 13-year-old first episode of Breaking Bad. That’s a pretty damning indictment of Netflix’s recent releases.

Play Something Else

Next, The Irishman. I already watched Goodfellas: Part III in the cinema, and I almost fell asleep. I’m not gonna spend 210 minutes giving it another chance on the small screen.

Play Something Else

Finally, it tries to make me watch Narcos again. It’s another show I watched years ago — although, in fairness to Netflix, I had a different account at the time.

At this point, I’m spending almost as much time shuffling as I normally do scrolling, and I should probably get back to work.

Play Something hasn’t delivered for me yet. But if you’re less jaded/have awful taste, it might ensure you never have to stop watching TV again.

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