Killer New Netflix Feature Will Change the Way You Watch

(Image credit: Jeff Higgins)

Netflix is famous for its incredibly specific recommendations for what to watch next. Those picks, categorized in collections like Award-Winning Soapy TV Dramas and TV Shows About Friendship, are created using an algorithm that takes into account what you’ve watched before.

The problem is that algorithms often miss the mark. Sure, I loved The Crown, but that doesn’t mean I want to follow it up by binging a million seasons of Grey’s Anatomy (no offense; great show).

Now Netflix is testing a different way to serve up recommendations: Actual human beings.

In a new feature called Collections, which is currently only available to beta testers of the Netflix iOS app, you can find new categories like “Watch, Gasp, Repeat” and “Let’s Keep It Light.”

Think of it like a human-curated playlist. The collections are tied together by common themes, storylines or genres, but real people have watched these recommendations and determined that other real people would appreciate them.

The Collections menu, first spotted by Twitter user Jeff Higgins and picked up by TechCrunch, replaces the My List tab in the iOS app (though you can still find your list under More).

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According to The Verge, there are currently around 40 different curated collections to choose from in the iOS app. So far, they’re pretty basic — “Critics Love These Movies” seems like a category an algorithm could curate just fine — but perhaps Netflix’s curators will eventually create a mix of collections for every niche.

It’s unclear whether Netflix will roll out Collections more broadly in the future, but the company is clearly looking for ways to keep its users topped up on fresh content. The streaming TV wars are only just getting started, and with the launch of Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus and HBO Max on the horizon, Netflix can’t afford for you to get bored.

Caitlin is a Senior editor for Gizmodo. She has also worked on Tom's Guide, Macworld, PCWorld and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. When she's not testing out the latest devices, you can find her running around the streets of Los Angeles, putting in morning miles or searching for the best tacos.