Google Australia has tweaked its entertainment recommendations, adding new tools to help you figure out what to watch and where to stream it. Just don’t expect it to overtake JustWatch anytime soon.
Google has unveiled its new streaming search engine features, which allow users to browse specific genres or similar shows and movies. It also provides a quick glance at which of Australia’s streaming services they can watch them on.
A user could type in something as broad as “best horror movies” and some popular options would show but if you were looking for something a little more niche, like “Australian horror movies from the 70s”, it does a fairly good job of it.
From there, you can flick between shows or movies, add and subtract additional genre filters as well as tags like “cult films” or “Academy Award”.
Streaming service options are still limited
What’s particularly handy is the streaming service filter. It now allows you to plug in what streaming services you’re connected to but unfortunately these options are limited. Currently it only includes Netflix, Stan, Disney+, Foxtel, Google Play Movies & TV and YouTube.
This means that it won’t display options from Amazon Prime Video, Binge, Apple TV+, SBS On Demand, ABC iView and Microsoft and Apple’s stores. For anime fans, Crunchy Roll and Anime Lab are out, too. It’s understood that more options will be added in the future.
In testing this feature, however, it didn’t seem to prioritise ‘horror movies’ showing on Stan when I specifically searched for them. Gizmodo Australia asked Google how this feature is meant to work and it explained it would limit the selection to what’s available. Clicking on a title will also show where it was being streamed from those above options in the country.
JustWatch does it better
None of these features are particularly new. Anyone who had wanted to find similar movies previously could type something into Google and browse the available recommendations. The new features really just let you tweak and personalise what you’re looking for rather than relying solely on an algorithm.
As for seeing what content is streaming where — JustWatch already does this in a much better way.
JustWatch is a great tool for finding which sites will let you watch a show or movie. Over the years, it’s allowed more customisation so you can get recommendations on similar entertainment. Comparatively, Google’s new features are quite limited, leaving out competitors and additional services as mentioned above.
Despite the new Google features not being as immediately useful as JustWatch’s, having all those options in the one place is more convenient for users.
Google Australia says it’s working on adding more interest categories in the coming months so we’ll soon find out whether it will eventually tweak some of these issues.