Users won’t have to scroll through the catalog.
Since 2020, Netflix has been running periodic tests of new features to determine how, if at all, users would like the general Netflix experience to change. During the company’s Q4 earnings report released today, they mentioned the development of a new feature that “gives members the ability to choose to instantly watch a title chosen just for them versus browse.” After TechCrunch reached out for verification, Netflix confirmed that the feature in question is, indeed, shuffle play.
According to Netflix, all iterations of the Netflix app will receive shuffle functionality by mid-2021, though apparently they’re still workshopping the name. With the shuffle functionality update, the Netflix app would receive a large button on the home screen. When pressed, this button randomly selects a show or movie from Netflix’s catalog and loads it. It does not, however, select from the entire catalog; rather, the pool of possible selections is determined by the user’s previous watching habits. Shows and movies that are on a user’s watch list or that a user began watching and never finished may also be selected.
Some users have already reported seeing the shuffle button on their Netflix apps due to the company’s ongoing tests. At the moment, tests are only being conducted on the streaming player version of the app, with the web and mobile versions to come later. This is actually the second time Netflix had tried to add a shuffle feature, as they implemented a similar function in 2019 that allowed users to select a random episode of a particular show. This feature has since been removed.