Netflix has been testing a Shuffle Play button that plays randomly selected titles for at least six months now, and is now prepping to introduce the feature officially to all users later in 2021.
The streamer noted in its recent quarterly earnings release that the currently experimental Shuffle Play feature has proven popular enough with a subset of its users to roll out to all customers worldwide sometime in the first half of 2021. The feature “gives members the ability to choose to instantly watch a title chosen just for them versus browse,” Netflix noted.
In its letter to shareholders, Netflix said the user response to Shuffle Play has been positive — which is funny because the original responses to the feature on social media were decidedly mixed. However, the company doesn’t make its decisions based on what a handful of tweets once said, but rather in how Netflix members actually used the product, of course.
Found on the Netflix home screen beneath your profile icon, the button randomly plays a movie or TV show that the company’s personalization algorithm thinks you’ll like. People included in the test may also see a “Not sure what to watch?” link in the navigation menu that, when selected, brings up a splash screen showing how Shuffle Play works.
As mentioned, the button has been in testing with a small percentage of the Netflix user base. Although some people may now see a Shuffle Play button on their Netflix homepage, others will need to wait a bit more to have it appear in their account.
Netflix told The Verge last August that it’s been running this as a test since July.
“We run these tests in different countries and for different periods of time – and only make them broadly available if people find them useful,” a spokesperson said. The company has also been testing a similar Play Something feature on TV devices.
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