There's nothing worse than watching your favorite show and having it pause to buffer at the most intriguing moment. Unfortunately, commuters can experience this quite often, but Netflix is trying an unusual way to solve this issue. Indeed, the company is testing how it can improve video quality while a viewer is on the go by tracking their "physical activity."
— Beto on Security (@BetoOnSecurity) July 27, 2019
As highlighted in the tweet above, the app has been requesting access for "Physical Activity" data on some devices. Users even report it has been granted permission without their approval.
When Ivan Mehta from The Next Web noticed his Pixel 3 XL had the permission turned on, he reached out to Netflix to understand why. The company responded it's experimenting with a way to "improve video playback quality when a member is on the go," without further explaining how it's planning to do this. It could be relying on Android Q's physical activity recognition permission to anticipate whether you're in motion and adjust its buffering accordingly.
The feature remains in testing for a limited number of users, and Netflix doesn't plan to globally roll it out for the time being. We'll continue to monitor this story and update you once we learn more about it.
- The Next Web