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Google Search can now help streaming TV fans decide what to watch next

Published Apr 22nd, 2020 9:47PM EDT
What to Watch
Image: imageBROKER/Shutterstock

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  • All of us are streaming TV and movies more than ever these days, thanks to coronavirus quarantines that mean everyone is staying at home and hunkering down there as much as possible as the virus continues to spread outside.
  • Google Search has launched a tool, announced on Wednesday, that lets streaming TV and movie fans build a watchlist to keep track of shows they live and are interested in — in addition to offering data that can help those users figure out what to watch next on streamers including Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+, among others.
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For those of who have become pretty reliant on Google services – which include best-in-class Search, Mail, and Maps products, among other offerings from the search giant – Google has just added one more tool to make its services even more indispensable to loyalists like me. Particularly, those of us who keep an ongoing, stacked watchlist of shows and movies to stream, which our long coronavirus quarantines have only helped get longer and longer.

If you’re like me, keeping track of all your favorite shows across all the streaming services you’re signed up for, and not to mention all the shows you haven’t watched yet but are intrigued enough to want to check out — it’s almost a full-time job, it feels like. Add on top of that the constant churn that all the services experience from month to month, with shows and movies constantly rolling on and off, and it’s a near-impossible task unless you’ve got a ridiculous amount of time and energy to devote to it. I’m definitely in this category, and while I don’t mind spending a fair amount of time keeping track of the shows I love the most, I’m glad to know that Google has built a TV and movie tracker inside of Google Search that makes this task a lot easier.

Google announced its new Watchlist feature on Wednesday as part of a larger announcement about new entertainment and news features meant to give us all a bit of extra convenience in today’s coronavirus-driven media landscape. “You can already find TV and movie recommendations in Search,” Google’s announcement explains, “and today we’re adding a new Watchlist tab on mobile, so that you can keep track of what to watch next.”

Here’s how it works: Start with a mobile Google search for “what to watch.”

You should see two choices next — “Explore” and “Watchlist.” Tap the latter (make sure you’re signed in to your Google account, of course), and then you can start adding movies and shows to a master list. In the “Explore,” you’ll be presented with a massive selection of content across all the big streaming services, and you can learn more about all of those options including where to watch them — and, with a simple tap, you can also add those shows and movies to your running watchlist.

Here’s what you see, for example, when you do a Google search for “what to watch” and then tap on the thumbnail for the Tiger King docu-series on Netflix:

Image source: Google

The info-box that appears shows you detail including where you can watch the program, a ribbon you can click to add the show to your watch list, review data from Google, IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and more.

This Watchlist feature is now live and accessible via mobile devices — and, as we said, was one of several related updates Google unveiled today. Another: For those of you with an Android TV, you’ll now see three new rows from YouTube on your home screen. They include —

  • COVID-19 News, which offers the latest news and updates from publishers and local health authorities
  • Stay Home #WithMe, which spotlights videos that invite you to cook, listen to live music, and work out
  • and Free movies from YouTube, which presents movies you can watch for free with ads.
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.

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