A Chrome browser extension that lets users watch Netflix content in sync with friends and conduct a group chat alongside their viewing is gathering attention this week, as many stay home and away from social gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. Called Netflix Party, the extension allows users to engage in remote watch parties where participants can converse in real time via a group chat.
Setting up a party seems simple enough. After the extension is installed, you can head to Netflix to load a show or movie. Then you click on an “NP” logo to start your party and then share the URL with your friends.
That chat feature seems feature-rich, including support for user icons, nicknames, GIFs and more. Meanwhile, the developer appears to be updating and improving the extension at a rapid rate, possibly to try and stay ahead of increasing demand, such as a recent update that added more than two dozen servers.
Of course, Netflix Party has been around for a while and the notion of virtual watch parties isn’t exactly new. Outside of participants manually syncing what they’re watching and then using a standard chat app, there are a number of alternative browser extensions that allow for similar functionality, including support for YouTube and Twitch. In fact, Microsoft offered a party mode on its Xbox 360 video game console, allowing users to interact with friends and family while watching Netflix.
But with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak keeping many of us at home, virtual watch parties could certainly see a boom in popularity.
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