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Android users are about to get a brand new Netflix feature that iPhone users can’t access

Published Jun 2nd, 2021 8:32PM EDT
Netflix app
Image: M. Zech Fotografie/Adobe

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With the staggering libraries of content that streaming video and music services have amassed, I personally have never been able to understand you heathens who love to rely on a shuffle button of some kind to just let an application serve up whatever it thinks you like.

Granted, Spotify’s randomness has gotten it right here and there for me, but it seems to me that the value in pressing a button and just letting ‘er rip is that you can redirect your focus elsewhere. Only, for me, when I do this I keep getting pulled back into “Nope, not that one.” “Not that one either.” So much so, that it defeats the purpose altogether. And shuffling Netflix’s ridiculously massive library of content? Forget it. Right now, Mr. Netflix Algo King, I’m here for one reason and one reason only — to rush through all of Money Heist (aka La Casa de Papel) before Part 1 of the fifth and final season drops on the streamer later this year.

At any rate, this is exactly the feature that Android users are about to be able to start enjoying within the Netflix app.

The streamer has been testing a “Play Something” option as well as a “Shuffle Play” button on the menu and profile select screens, respectively.

The idea here is to somewhat replicate the experience of flipping through TV channels, to keep you within Netflix rather than leaving in frustration to a rival streamer when you can’t decide what to watch. During a quarterly earnings presentation to analysts earlier this year, Netflix COO and chief product officer Greg Peters said a shuffle option is meant for users to be able to “indicate to us that they just want to skip browsing entirely, click one button and we’ll pick a title for them just to instantly play.”

Here’s a video from Netflix explaining how “Play Something” works:

Per Engadget, this feature is in testing on Android mobile devices right now, so don’t be surprised if you’re presented with this as an option. From Netflix’s announcement about the feature:

“When you hit the ‘Play Something’ button, you’ll be instantly met with a series or film we know you’ll love based on what you’ve watched before. Or with one more click you can ‘Play Something Else’ and get a brand new series or film, a series or film you’re already watching, a series or film on your list, or an unfinished series or film you may want to revisit.”

To keep things simple, the streamer continues, users will be able to find “Play Something” in multiple ways on their TV, including underneath their profile name, in the tenth row on the Netflix homepage, and, additionally, in the navigation menu on the left side of the screen.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.