As governments across the globe are urging on social distancing and home quarantine, many imposing nationwide lockdowns in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19, online players are helping people bridge the gap and socialise virtually. A Google extension called Netflix Party, for instance, lets users socialise by watching movies and TV shows together online.

The extension allows users to stream movies and TV shows together with their friends on the OTT platform. It currently works for Google Chrome browsers on desktop and laptop devices. Netflix party allows anyone who joins the party to pause, play, fast forward and rewind the movies, so everyone is always on the same time frame. It also allows members of the group to chat and discuss a movie or a show that they are watching together in a side chat bar.

How does it work?

- For the extension to work, all users in a group must have their own Netflix account.

- Users can install the Netflix Party chrome extension on their desktop or laptop device by clicking the "Add to Chrome" button on the Netflix Party extension page on the Chrome Web Store.

- Once installed, users can start a particular movie or show on the Netflix website. Once the video starts playing, they can create their ‘party’ by clicking on the red "NP" icon located next to the address bar followed by the button "Start Party" to get it started.

- They can then share the party URL generated to invite friends. Other users can join in on the group streaming through the URL by clicking on the "NP" button next to the address bar in their Netflix account.

Virtual group streaming options

Streaming parties are not exclusive to Netflix. Chrome extension YouTube party lets users simultaneously watch videos on YouTube. Another extension called Metastream also works for YouTube as well as Hulu and has a text chat feature similar to Netflix Party. TwoSeven allows users to watch YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, or HBO Now while video chatting with their friends.

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