Chrome Kaleidoscope Review: First Impressions

A centralized Continue Watching menu for all your streaming services

What’s the most used category in your Netflix library? Is it gritty crime dramas? Binge-worthy British TV comedies? Steamy love stories? It’s okay. You can be honest. No, it’s the Continue Watching button. Especially if you favor series over movies, then that’s the one you probably make a beeline for when you open up Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, or whatever.

Now I’ve been saying this for a while, and I know I’m not the only one, but how cool would it be if you could have a fully centralized Continue Watching menu for all your streaming services? Pretty cool. The answer is it would be pretty cool. And Google looks like it is working on just that. I’m going to tell you what we know. So let’s dive in.

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Chrome Kaleidoscope is a tantalizing possibility

Now last month, the folks over at chromestory.com showed us a potential upcoming new feature on Chrome called Kaleidoscope.

Why is it called Kaleidoscope? Probably just because it sounds cool. And to force us all to learn to spell kaleidoscope. It took me 10 tries. No, it’s called Kaleidoscope, I think, because what does a kaleidoscope do? You look in one end, a single lens, and you see 1,000 images on the other side.

What Chrome Kaleidoscope does

So Kaleidoscope pulls in shows from streaming services into a centralized continue watching menu. The screenshots they have over at chromestory.com only show Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+ for now.

But that’s probably just because they’re using an early testing iteration. Presumably, we’ll see every streaming service there eventually. In fact, a recent update, again, over at Chrome Story, it says that there will be an option to automatically add videos from sites you visit.

So, maybe we’d see Netflix and Hulu stuff next to YouTube and Vimeo, and the sweet highlights you were watching over on mlb.com or something like that. Point is, if Google gets this right, this is basically what we’ve all been waiting for, at least in this realm. We’ve had similar centralized hubs like on the Apple TV app and the TiVo Stream, but those both had major shortcomings.

Compare Kaleidoscope-compatible streaming services
ProviderMonthly priceLearn more
Netflix$8.99$17.99*View Plans
Amazon Prime VideoIncluded with Amazon Prime subscription ($119.00/yr.)*View Plan
Disney+$7.99$79.99View Plans
Data as of 11/05/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Data as of 11/05/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Apple TV’s and TiVo Stream’s shortcomings are Chrome Kaleidoscope’s opportunity

Apple TV was never able to get Netflix to participate. So there was always a gaping hole in that service. And the TiVo Stream app never gave us the Continue Watching menu. It’s more of a centralized My List menu. Still great, still useful. Just not quite what we were after.

Kaleidoscope does have one big drawback, namely it’s on Chrome. And right now, it looks like that’s the only browser. And that’s going to be great for people like my college-aged friends who don’t own TVs and watch everything on a laptop. But I’m an older man who prefers to watch TV on a TV. So if I have a wish list for Google Kaleidoscope, it would be to roll it out to Android TV as well.

So long as it actually goes well on Chrome. That way, I can use it on my TV when I watch TV from my couch. Thank you very much. But as long as it is on the browser, I want it to automatically detect which streaming services I’m logged into through Chrome, so that I don’t have to go through a dozen logins to get it all set up.

The simpler the setup is, the happier I will be. And I would also like any recommendation algorithm they include to remain optional. The simpler this tool remains, the better, I think, it will be, honestly.

But what about you? What would be on your wish list? What do you think Google could or should do with a feature like this? Hit me up in the comments. Let me know.

Also we’re going to keep our eye on this one going forward, so we can keep you updated on Google Kaleidoscope. Don’t forget to do me a solid. If you like this video, then give it a like. And don’t forget to subscribe. Hit the bell icon.

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