A Netflix Party Chrome extension called Netflix Party allows friends and family members to watch Netflix series and movies together while still practicing the social distancing that is recommended as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Dubbed a "new way to watch Netflix with your friends online," Netflix Party https://www.netflixparty.com syncs video playback so two (or more) people can watch together while in separate homes using separate Netflix accounts. Additionally, they can also join group chats to discuss events as they happen.
The site for the Chrome extension, which does not appear to be affiliated with Netflix directly, reports more than half a million users already who are enjoying long distance movie nights and TV watch parties. As of this writing, it seems more are signing on in droves given the current circumstances, with the app now showing 900,000+ users to date.
To use Netflix Party, you must have a Google Chrome browser and it can only be accessed from a computer or possible mobile device, but not a smart TV. Install the extension, open a Netflix video, create or join a party, and communicate as you watch. You can customize the party with fun user icons and nicknames, and upload screenshots, emojis, and GIFs to express your thoughts about what's happening on screen.
While there's a lot of hype about the service, the reviews aren't exactly glowing. Some claim they can't get it to work or sync up, and others say it disconnects any time a new episode begins or the chat window disappears when they try to view full screen. But many of the negative reviews date back to late 2018 and early 2019; the latest app update is listed as being made on March 11, 2020.
Netflix Party is clearly not a new extension but one that has been getting more attention of late now that people worldwide are practicing social distancing, which the governments, public health officials, and other organizations have recommended we do in order to try and slow the spread of this potentially deadly coronavirus.
which notes that third-party analytics providers like Google Analytics could collect information "regarding the use of other websites, apps and online resources" (you can install an opt-out in your web browser) and that messages and chat history are not stored during watch parties.