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Netflix streaming user profiles to launch this summer, make account sharing easier

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Ask Netflix Vice President of Product Innovation Todd Yellin what makes the streaming giant special, and he'll start telling you about algorithms, test groups and suggestion engines. "It's the revolution of TV," he explained to us at E3. "They used to send out a TV show and then they'd have no freaking idea who was watching it, how much they were watching ... it was just Nielsen diaries." A woefully inaccurate way to track content consumption, Yellin suggested. Netflix, on the other hand, can tell what folks are watching, when they are watching it, for how long and even on what device. Netflix uses all this information to offer users extremely specific suggestions and categories based on their recent use. The problem is, many families share a single account, and all their different tastes mix into a nonsensical mess. "You and your wife might have very different tastes," Yellin explained. "Why can't you have a profile, and she has a profile?" Separating the users on the family account would allow each user to get tailored suggestions based on their personal viewing experience. "We're finally launching it this summer."

Yellin pulled out an iPad, and showed the user-based sorting in action. It's pretty simple: loading up the app offers the user a one touch choice between profiles, which then drops into that person's tailored Netflix experience. Profiles can be aged locked, ensuring that profiles for children will only load up Netflix's kid hub -- fitting, since jumping between profiles is very similar to the firm's existing parental control solution. All in all, it seemed to be a very lightweight and pain free experience. The feature might not be useful for every Netflix user, but it sounds like a boon for families with wildly different tastes in content.

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