Netflix Hack Day yields innovative and wacky ideas

The results of a Netflix Hack Day—a day for product development teams to break away from their normal work and dive into experimental, collaborative, and creative programming – has been shared on the Netflix blog.

The Hack Day produced 70 hacks by more than 150 engineers and designers. Netflix shared examples of this creative output on their blog, however, made clear these would not necessarily become part of the Netflix product, internal infrastructure, or be used beyond Hack Day.

One hack produced by developers Jeff Butsch and Seth Katz—called ‘Netflix Earth’—is an animated 3D globe that shows ‘real-time global playback activity’. This means that a snapshot of a Netflix TV show or film appears on the globe wherever it is being watched – unsurprisingly, these snapshots flooded at a high rate out of North America and Europe.

Another hack, by developers Joey Cato and Adnan Abbas, provides a more convenient way to catch missed dialogue by displaying subtitles when you pause playback. Called ‘Say Whaaatt!!’ this feature allows users to navigate a film’s timeline and view subtitles like a storybook.

There were also examples of purely comical hacks developed at the day. BEEP (Binge Encouragement and Enforcement Platform), created by Ben Hagen, ‘actively and abrasively’ encourages user to continue watching Netflix when their attention starts to stray. In his demonstration video, Ben is watching Kitten Party—when he gets distracted and turns away, a red sign displays and buzzer goes off, which brings his attention back to Netflix.

For the Hack Day, Netflix say the primary goal is to provide a fun, experimental, and creative outlet for their engineers. If something interesting and potentially useful comes from it, that is a bonus, but enjoyment and fun is the main goal.

DTG Staff  |  11.03.2015

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