On March 16, The White House urged Americans to halt most social activities for the next two weeks and avoid congregating in groups larger than 10 people. But thanks to technology, lounging on the couch alone doesn't actually have to be lonely. People practicing social distancing are discovering a new way to connect with one another, thanks to Netflix Party, a Chrome extension that is making self-isolation a bit more comforting.
Netflix Party lets users around the world watch Netflix together. It's completely free, so it's a great solution for staying tight with your friends, even if you're not hanging out with them IRL. Since it is only available on Google Chrome, you have to first install Chrome onto your computer. Once you have Chrome downloaded, go to Netflix Party's extension page and click "add extension." Alternatively, you can visit the Netflix Party website and download it there. Once you have the extension, you will be directed to Netflix Party's homepage, where you'll enter your Netflix login information. Then, you're set to watch.
To start a Netflix Party with a friend, simply log in to the streamer like you normally would, then click the Netflix Party extension logo in the top right of your navigation tab. When you click "start party," it will give you a URL you can send to as many people as you want. Each person will have to have the Netflix Party extension downloaded on their own browser to watch with you.
As of now, Netflix Party is only offered through Google Chrome and only supports text messaging, meaning it doesn't offer any video chat or WhatsApp compatibility. If you're looking to stream shows and movies with your friends while also video-chatting with them, you can check out Scener (another Google Chrome extension), or Kast, which allows you to broadcast your screen and works across streaming platforms.
The Netflix Party extension has been around since at least 2015, but as self-isolation and social distancing become more common, it'll likely become a more popular tool, so you can have fun with your friends, even if you're not near them.
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