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Likewise wants to reinvent the recommendation engine of the internet

Illustration by Kate Walker

Likewise wants to reinvent the recommendation engine of the internet


The Future. A new platform dubbed Likewise hopes to create an environment where users and the app’s AI work together to create a more accurate recommendation engine, making finding what movie to watch on Friday night a quicker and more enjoyable experience. With the rise of Likewise and Jay Chandrasekhar’s Vouch Vault, a vibe shift may be happening where users are willing to put in a little more work to curate and optimize their online experience — an about-face from the just-let-the-algorithm-handle-it ethos of traditional social platforms.

Nothing to watch…
If you have nothing to watch, it may mean that you haven’t helped the algorithm enough to offer you something actually worth watching.

  • The Verge reports that a new app called Likewise aims to help by turning scrolling through Netflix or HBO Max into a social network.
  • The platform first asks the users to pick their favorite genres and then a selection of at least 20 titles from those genres. That gives the platform a baseline for understanding a user’s taste.
  • From there, Likewise sorts you into a “cluster” — a group of people with a similar taste. And as the algorithm gets to know you better, those clusters will change to reflect your preferences better.
  • Finally, the platform will recommend titles to you through a process called “collaborative filtering,” which boils down to “assuming that if you like something, and someone else likes that thing and also a second thing, you’ll probably like the second thing too.”

Additionally, since Likewise pulls recommendations from every streamer (just as Plex, JustWatch, and Reelgood do), users will have many more options to choose from without having to jump back and forth between apps.

Machine mistakes
Ultimately, Likewise wants to be the one-stop-shop recommendation platform for any media, with the more users who sign up and engage with the algorithm creating a more accurate engine for all the other users. It’s also a bulwark toward audiences just settling for whatever film or show is currently taking up the limited space on a streamer’s homepage.

That’s a more intuitive alternative to the data-heavy, “frictionless” recommendation algorithms of YouTube, TikTok, and other social networks that work by determining what you linger on the longest. But knowing how we all hover just a little too long on the most outrageous of stories, our Twitter timeless can easily turn into a doomscroll of outrage when we’re just trying to see what movies and shows people are talking about.

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