This author believes that arguing against the internet’s heavy impact on how we watch movies and TV shows nowadays is incredibly short-sighted. The advent of services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are actively hurting the cable TV industry. Televisions sets as a whole, in fact, are now unnecessary and accordingly purchased less by individuals nowadays. What used to be a family-oriented activity is now becoming a more personal one, governed by laptop and mobile screens. This isn’t to either praise or condemn the new trend. It’s just a statement about how things are now.
With this advent of the internet-based viewing experience, entire communities have shifted to online discourse as well. If you’re an individual who’s complaining about how people just don’t talk about movies in person anymore, chances are that you’re just missing out. The entire movie watching community is still expanding and on the go, relying on specialized sub-reddits and Twitter forums for their discussions. In fact, many individuals often go online to check out movie recommendations. Which is something that Google’s been working on for a long time.
If individuals ever searched up anything related to the big and/or small screen (i.e. actors, directors, genres, decades), movies suggestions and search results would show up accordingly. With their posters serving as tiny icons, individuals could easily scroll through recommendations and select their pick. Now, Google has updated its interface, bringing in a feature called “What to Watch”.
If you search up the term what to watch in Google Search, a list of options will show up, with tags allowing you to narrow down genres and types (TV show, movie, documentary, etc.). On top of that, an icon asks users to click “Start”, if they’d like to personalize the options a bit more. Doing so will lead users to a new UI, featuring movie titles and posters in a Tinder sort of manner. Users can swipe right if the like the options presented, or swipe left if they do not. This way, by constantly feeding suggestions to Google Search’s algorithm, the options presented to a user end up being more tailored to their interests and specifications, for example, if users have saved Netflix or Amazon Prime Video to their Google account they’ll likely see recommendations based on these services. However, if they’d like to be more specific, they can always pick genres via the tags provided.
Online discourse and suggestions are an integral part of the current viewing experience. It’s interesting to see Google’s response to this, and the UI they’ve created in the process.
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