Netflix is testing human-curated collections to go with its algorithms

Netflix Collections
(Image credit: @ItsJeffHiggins / Netflix)

If you're finding the Netflix recommendation algorithms a little on the stale side, help is on the way: the streaming service is testing a new Collections feature, where you can browse through picks from expert editors too.

As reported by TechCrunch and on Twitter, the feature is only being trialled with a small number of iOS users at the moment (Netflix has confirmed this, but as with any test, says the feature may or may not become permanent).

It seems like a good idea though – members of the Netflix team pull shows and movies into all kinds of groupings, whether that's based around a particular country, or around a topic like comedy or award-winning titles.

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Some of the collections spotted so far include "Watch, Gasp, Repeat", "Short and Funny", "Artful Adventures", and "Oddballs & Outcasts". Genre, tone, storyline and character traits can be used for groupings, Netflix says.

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It's billed by Netflix inside the iOS app as "an easy way to find shows and movies you'll like" – and if you do find something of interest then you're going to spend more time on Netflix, so the new feature is a win for everyone.

It certainly makes an interesting change from the finely tuned algorithms that usually serve up material in the Netflix recommendations pane. These algorithms are based, among other factors, on viewing history and ratings that have been left.

Having films and shows that have been hand-picked by human curators might be a better way of discovering something you wouldn't have otherwise come across – and with so much content on the service, viewers need all the help they can get.

No word yet on if or when the Collections feature is going to roll out for everyone, but we'll let you know if we hear anything (or see it appear in our app). Who knows: we might get user-curated collections eventually, too.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.