Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Features...(PREVIEW)

I love it when I get to show y'all the new features. Remember what I said: i am building to something here. Every few weeks you get another piece of the puzzle until it starts to look like what it is.

Early next week we will retire the Friends tab. It will henceforth be called "Community" (well, at least until we think of something better). NOTE: This does not mean the Friends feature will be gone - on the contrary, Friends is an important element for people in our community. The name on the tab is what is changing, and the Friends page itself is getting (sort of) demoted, so you access it from that sidebar. It will be clear when you get there.

There are four main components to this Community "Home" Page: the first is the column on the left labeled "Latest Reviews" -- It is a feed of the latest reviews as they are posted to Netflix, from anyone, on any movie. On each one you'll see the little avatar and Sim% and you can decide as they flow on by whether or not any of the flicks (uh, perhaps i should write "flix") interest you. It will run all the way through thousands of reviews, if you let it...

Tip #1: Moving your cursor into the column will stop the flow; move your cursor out and it starts again.

Next to this zone is another new element: a presentation of custom lists--which are now going to be called "Top 10 Lists" in spite of some of your protests. If you want to call it a custom list, go ahead. But we're writing "Top 10 Lists" on the website. These are not the most recently created lists. These are selected for you individually to have movies in them that we think might interest you based on some guesses about what you like. It's a crude sort of approximation, but custom lists are sort of fuzzy like that, and idiosyncratic, and personal. Check some out that interest you. Each time you refresh the page, the set of lists update. This can be fun. This can also drive you crazy. You'll see. It's not totally on purpose, but i kinda like it. Sometimes an unusual Top 10 List is a neat jumping off point to check out a new reviewer, which leads to their reviews and other Top 10 Lists.... and so on.

We've got a block here showing movies popular in your town. We've had this on the site home page for a long time, but I think its nice here. It's more for curiosity than anything else. What's fun is checking out other areas and seeing what's different there. Your home town. Some place where your friends live.

And finally, down toward the bottom, are a set of four reviewers from netflix, all strangers to you, with some of the highest Sim% we could find. They aren't the "most" similar, I suppose--but they are among the most similar.

I'd like to ask ya'll to explore the possibilities here. What interests you? Do you drill into the Top 10 Lists? Do you add movies to your Queue after discovering them here? How do you feel about those Similar Reviewers? All I'll say about the next few pieces is this: in short order, Friends users will have a few more elements here to approximate a new version of the old Friends Home page. And finally, yes, you'll be able to hang onto the people you find and like here. They won't be your friends and you won't be getting messages from people you don't know. But you will be able to keep an eye on them. And a few other things. But that will have to wait for a little bit. For now, start experiencing this new Community home. And I trust I will get your candid feedback. It's what y'all do best. Next week. Enjoy.