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Netflix just fixed one of its most jarring weaknesses
Thanks to a new five-profiles-per-account feature, you won't get historical documentary recommendations just because your spouse loves them
Netflix will no longer recommend anime to you just because your roommate loves it.
Netflix will no longer recommend anime to you just because your roommate loves it. Screen shot
M

y younger brother and I couldn't be more different. He is what many people would consider a large person; I am small. He has a proclivity for wearing fedoras; I'm more of a baseball cap kind of guy. He's a romantic, and the kind of social butterfly who gets energized charming a room full of people by chatting a mile a minute. Me? I'm much more even tempered, and parties tend to make me sleepy.

Nowhere do our respective differences manifest themselves more clearly online than in the Netflix account we share, which at the moment is an oddball assortment of anime, Korean dramas, sports documentaries, and "imaginative time travel movies from the 1980s." (I'll let you guess who watches what.)

Which is why I'm excited about today's news from Netflix. Pretty soon, each individual Netflix account will allow for up to five different user "profiles" to track each individual's viewing habits. Theoretically, this will help the system's algorithms dole out better recommendations, so that someone who gravitates toward The Notebook won't be hit with a recommendation for Chan-wook Park's Oldboy.

This gives Netflix's social presence a boost too, since now you can share your movie-watching preferences on Facebook without having to worry about 10 hours of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic suddenly appearing in your feed. According to All Things D, profiles will roll out to most major platforms that support the service (just in time for Chromecasting!), including Blu-ray players, Xbox 360, PS3, Apple iOS devices, and PCs. Android is taking a bit longer, but will get the profile feature soon.

Basically, this rather minor change will inevitably lead to more and happier eyeballs glued to Netflix for longer periods of time. It's a welcome breath of fresh air from a media/tech company, too. Rather than try to shoehorn its users into a mold it wants them to fit (<cough> Time-Warner Cable </cough>), Netflix is conceding that, yes, multiple people do share Netflix accounts, which demonstrates a willingness to adapt and stay flexible.

Chris Gayomali is the science and technology editor for TheWeek.com. Sometimes he writes about other stuff. His work has also appeared in TIME, Men's JournalEsquire, and The Atlantic.

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