Movie nights from miles away

Lindsay Kuiper — Staff Writer

During this time of social distancing, many aspects of life have been moved online, and social gatherings are no exception. 

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In response to the coronavirus crisis, a new Chrome extension called Netflix Party has been increasing in popularity. Netflix’s website states that it “synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows,” making the virtually impossible task of connecting with friends a virtual reality.  

Only one person has to download the extension on their browser, but all participants must have their own Netflix account. From there, they can find the movie or television show they’d like to watch and create a link to share with their friends or family.  

Anyone in the group can play or pause the show unless the host has specified otherwise. Everyone can share their thoughts in real time using the group chat feature on the side of the screen.  

Freshman Sommer Schaap recently tried out the Chrome-exclusive feature. “It’s super easy to navigate,” she said. “It’s a really creative way to talk about the movie without verbally interrupting it so you can still understand what’s going on.” 

So far, over 1 million people have downloaded Netflix Party to their browser. However, some users have pointed out issues with the extension. For example, it automatically kicks everyone out of the chat room once a show is over, and a new session must be created for every episode that is watched with the extension.  

There are also no usernames in the chat room, so users must memorize the icons given to each member of the group to determine who is saying what. 

Despite the issues, many people are praising Netflix Party as a way to make social distancing more tolerable. While everyone is confined to their own homes, having more online features such as Netflix Party makes the isolation easier.  

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