It’s one of the less painful headaches of the modern era, especially during the quarantine era: You switch on Netflix, hoping to kill an evening, and you spend most of that time flipping through their seemingly endless wares, despite all the “50 Best [Whatever] On Netflix” lists out there. If this problem — Springsteen’s old “57 channels and nothing on” multiplied several times over — happens to you, then here’s some good news: Netflix has been testing out a shuffle feature that will do the deciding for you.
This comes from Tech Crunch (as caught by Entertainment Weekly), which reports that, back in July, the world’s first major streaming service began testing out a shuffle button on a select number of viewers. By August they’d expanded the testing pool, though it’s not how many subscribers will have the option of throwing up their hands and just watching, say, a few episodes of Highway to Heaven or the John Travolta cyber-thriller, Swordfish.
For those on the lookout for the shuffle button, be warned that it doesn’t appear in the same place on everyone’s screen, if it appears at all. It can pop up below the profile icon or in the side menu or in the “billboard” area where they show trailers and new releases. And it’s not a pure shuffle option, offering you a title purely by random. Instead, it’s tailor-made for you, based on what you’ve already watched and guesstimating what you might not turn off. (It’s also worth noting Netflix did a version of this last year, where they let users pick a random episode of a specific TV show, but that was limited to one show per shuffle.)
Mind you, Netflix’s shuffle feature is still in the testing phase. But who knows? Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones and suddenly find yourself watching the Larry the Cable Guy-Bill Engvall-DJ Qualls comedy Delta Farce.