Googles new feature will help you find something to watch

Google Search can now help you find your next binge. The company this morning announced a new feature that will make personalized recommendations of what to watch, including both TV shows and movies, and point you to services where the content is available.

The feature is an expansion of Google’s existing efforts in pointing web searchers to informative content about TV shows and films.

Already, a Google search for a TV show or movie title will include a “Knowledge Panel” box at the the top of the search results where you can read the overview, see the ratings and reviews, check out the cast and, as of spring 2017, find services where the show or movie can be streamed or purchased.

The new recommendations feature will instead appear to searchers who don’t have a particular title in mind, but are rather typing in queries like “what to watch” or “good shows to watch,” for example. From here, you can tap a Start button in the “Top picks for you” carousel to rate your favorite TV shows and movies in order to help Google better understand your tastes.

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You also can select which subscriptions you have access to, in order to customize your recommendations further. This includes subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO and HBO NOW, Prime Video, Showtime, Showtime Anytime, CBS All Access and Starz.

You also can indicate if you have a cable TV or satellite subscription. And it will list shows and movies available for rent, purchase or free streaming from online marketplaces like iTunes, Prime Video, Google Play Movies & TV and Vudu, plus network apps like ABC, Freeform, Lifetime, CBS, Comedy Central, A&E and History.

To get started, you’ll use a Tinder-like swiping mechanism to rate titles. Right swipes indicate a “like” and left swipes indicate a “dislike.” You can “skip” titles you don’t know or have an opinion on.

After giving Google some starter data about your interests, future searches for things to watch will offer recommendations tailored to you.

The company tells TechCrunch this information is only being used for the purpose of recommendations — it’s not being offered to advertisers. Instead, it’s about Google’s larger goal in helping people find the information they need.

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The company notes that you can even get specific with your requests, by asking for things like “horror movies from the 80s” or “adventure documentaries about climbing.” (This will help, too, when you can’t remember a movie’s title but do know what it’s about.)

Google’s search results will return a list of suggestions, and when you pick one you want to watch, the service will — as before — let you know where it’s available.

The company already has a good understanding of consumer interest in movies and TV thanks to its data on popular searches. Now it aims to have a good understanding of what individual users may want to watch, as well.

The new recommendations feature is live today on mobile for users in the U.S.

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