Revealed: Why Netflix monitored users’ physical activity on select Android phones


Is Netflix spying on us?

In the past week, few Android users were spooked when they noticed that Netflix was keeping a tab on their physical motion activity without explaining the reason why. However, as per a report in The Verge, the company confirmed that it was using this data as part of a test to determine whether it could find a way to better optimize streaming performance when customers were on the move.

Since the strength of the network varies when a user is commuting, Netflix was trying to understand how it could find a way to better optimize streaming performance when customers were on the move. This involves both every day walking around and also schedule-oriented movement like a daily commute.

In the past, Netflix has already elaborated on how quality of videos and “quality of experience” is a huge deal for the company. Hence, one can only imagine that it would look at some kind of low-bandwidth mode if it detected a flurry of movement. As of now, one can download shows and movies for offline viewing, but few users do not always remember this option.

“We are continually testing ways to give our members a better experience,” Netflix told The Next Web. “This was part of a test to see how we can improve video playback quality when a member is on the go.”

The company also informs that they have finished with the test and that it ran only on Android devices (even then, it was for just a select group of customers), and the company has no plans to roll out the data-gathering test more widely.

With the criticism being levied, one thinks that the streaming platform could have informed the users about this experiment with a notification somewhere on the app. It remains to be seen what will be the result of this entire experiment on user-experience.


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