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What’s on TV? How to Make Google Search Recommend Your Favorite Streaming Shows and Movies

Google wants to help smartphone users find new (and old) favorite TV shows and movies to watch.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based tech giant announced an update on Thursday for its search engine on mobile, which will serve U.S. users with personalized TV and film recommendations across different streaming services.

Here’s how to get started: Mobile users who visit Google.com or Google’s search app simply have to type in a phrase including “what to watch” or “good shows to watch.” Google then serves up the names of TV shows and film titles across different genres, from somewhat older titles, like Desperate Housewives and Buffy the Vampire Slayer to more recent releases, including Disney’s live-action Aladdin and Avengers: Endgame. Then, Tinder style, users will swipe to “Like” or “Dislike” them.

Once that’s done, users pick which streaming services they subscribe to, including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and others, and the search engine will serve up recommendations based on their tastes.

Google’s latest update may seem minor, but it’s welcome in an age when consumers are inundated with streaming services, each with thousands of titles to watch. 

It's also incredibly timely. Over the next 12 months, consumers will find themselves wading through loads of new options for streaming service subscriptions and content.

Apple is expected to debut its long-awaited Apple TV+ service this fall, with at least 34 original series and five movies, including The Morning Show, a drama starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell, and Dickinson, a comedic take on poet Emily Dickinson’s life, starring True Grit star Hailee Steinfeld.

Disney, meanwhile, plans on rolling out Disney Plus on Nov. 12 for $6.99 a month, or $12.99 as part of a larger bundle that includes Hulu and ESPN+. The Burbank, Calif.-based entertainment giant has been more forthcoming about its service in more recent months, promising a day one launch featuring more than 300 available movies and 7,500 TV episodes. Original shows in the works include the live-action Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian, a Star Wars Obi Wan Kenobi series with Ewan McGregor, and a revival of the teen sitcom Lizzie McGuire, starring Hilary Duff.

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