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jinni1The number of films I watch has declined greatly in these past few years. I used to go out to the video rental, and read the back of every DVD I hadn’t seen before. Not so much anymore. Time has become too precious a thing and, after all, how do I know I’m even going to like those films?

Usually I rely on my friends now. The word of mouth. It’s amazing how many voluntary test-animals walk this earth, and they’re my primary source of information. That is, until recently.

What’s truly great these days, is the intelligence of technology. No, Skynet is not upon us, but new algorithms are being written and tweaked everyday, to further dissect our characteristics and our very behaviour. Imagine it, a website that knows your every taste in movies. Now that is what I call technology!

Jinni

Jinni is a movie recommendation site, a spontaneous and intelligent search engine constantly trying to quantify your tastes. One might call it StumbleUpon for movies, but it’s much more than that. Jinni isn’t the only one competing in this league, so a little scepticism is allowed, but it’s the only one that works this well.

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My account was set up in no time. After we broke the ice a little, and talked about movies I liked, it took over control. Now instead of questions, it’s showing me movie recommendations – and good ones at that. Jinni’s like that movie-geek from college, only this one knows what you’re after better than you do.

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Building a Profile

The first thing you have to do after signing up is getting familiar with the interface, and letting the interface get familiar with you. If you want to get something out of this service, you need to demonstrate what kind of person you are – a rather small pain.

Start by searching and rating movies you’ve seen, the great ones as well as the bad ones. Meanwhile, if you encounter any interesting titles, you can tag them for later reference.

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Easier still is to take the movie quizzes. There’s one for every taste type – Introspector, Hero, Individualist, Drama Addict, Social Animal, Extremist, Alternate Realist, Escape Artist, Master Mind, Idealist, Strategist and Social Philosopher. Honestly, a lot of my own scores came as a surprise, but that was mostly because I hadn’t thought about it before.

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You will be presented with a number of genre-specific movies and you have to rate the ones you know. The other ones, you can tag as ‘likely to see’ or ‘not for me’. Based on those ratings, Jinni will then calculate how big a part of your taste type mix the genre is. The scores are dynamic, which means they will automatically adjust as you continue to rate movies.

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Last but not least, you can specify which genres and plot types you like, and further tweak your recommendations. I recommend you not to limit yourself to only one of these possibilities, as we want the recommendation engine to be as accurate as possible.

Recommendations

Once you’ve provided enough information to the website, it’ll start making movie recommendations. You’ll be surprised how many times they hit it right on the head. I almost had to delete the first page in its entirety because it was full of great movies I’ve enjoyed in the past.

You can rate or neglect movies in your list, at which point they’ll disappear from your list. When you click on the titles, you can see more information, as well as an embedded trailer.

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If you’ve got an online NetFlix account, you can team it up with Jinni. Head straight from your recommendations to the rental, or even filter out movies that aren’t available on NetFlix yet.

Intelligent Searches

Nevertheless, one of the best features of Jinni is the intelligent search engine. It’s yet another great way of discovering movies.

When indexing movies, Jinni doesn’t only look at the obvious stuff like genre, actors and producers but also assigns tags of meta-data. Each film will have some of these tags, defining the mood of the film, the type of plot and ideal audience. Using these tags, Jinni can make connections between movies that share certain grounds, or even ambience.

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In your inquiries, you can specify if you want to perform content- or title searches. The interesting thing about content searches – which will browse films’ characteristics – is that you can find great stuff without knowing what you’re looking for.

Sample inquiries include ‘Like: title’, which will only show you results somehow related to a specified movie, or ‘Plot: assassination’ which will only return a certain type of movie plot (in this example, films focused on an assassination).

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This search lingo is really very intuitive, and not even necessary in most cases, Linni speaks fluent English. Type in ‘movies with animals’, or ‘thought-provoking sci-fi’, and the semantic search engine will provide you with results. If you’re still not happy with the results you’re getting, you can filter them down by assigning other characteristics to the movie you’re looking for, like mood, genre, attitude and time period. That ought to do it!

Private Beta? – Here are 500 invites!

Jinni is still in private beta at the moment. This means it’s still closed for the public and you can’t get in without an invitation. But fear not, because the nice people at Jinni have supplied an invitation link for our readers to sign up right now!

Register via this link to get into the Jinni private beta (500 invites)!

The invites are limited, so be quick! If they’re done for, perhaps you can share a few of yours in the comments section below, because every member gets 10 additional invites!

If you manage to get an invite, please do come back and let us know what you think of the site. How accurate is it for you? What did the site recommend you watch?

MakeUseOf had some other great websites for movie addicts, Aibek’s post on What Movie Should I Watch Next? What Movie Should I Watch Next? What Movie Should I Watch Next? Read More is one of them. Other articles related to movies can be found here.

  1. alex
    August 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    i think dat is a good idea
    send me the invitation letter. tnx

  2. ratthasongw
    August 3, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    good site!but will it support non-english films?

    • magnoliasouth
      August 3, 2009 at 3:30 pm

      Yes. Das Boot is one of my favorites and it was there. :)

  3. bob
    August 3, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks. Looks very interesting this does, and perfect for me because i'm always looking for something to watch and often end up unable to make up my mind.

  4. Hamid
    August 3, 2009 at 10:20 am

    This is a wonderful site.. I'm always inspired..

  5. poproc
    August 3, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Awesome site. Spot on.
    Nice work.

  6. Angie Bowen
    August 2, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    This is an awesome site, thanks so much for the invite! I'm not having any trouble with Firefox 3.5 on Vista. So far I've been able to do everything I've tried. So far it seems very accurate, I'm really looking forward to getting deeper into it.

  7. SquareWheel
    August 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    You may also want to note that they do not encrypt their passwords, at least not yet at this stage. I mentioned that in my feedback, so hopefully this will be important to the developer.

  8. SquareWheel
    August 2, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    I found a slight problem with registering. I used a nice long, randomly generated password. For example: i@g>\tm})$$XuWcn4Rah]?\C{AVjWc (It wasn't that). I registered just fine, but when I went to log in it said my password was wrong. I did a password recovery, and they cut my password into approximately one third. So you know, the character that didn't go in was <.

    So basically, I'd stick with more common characters in this password. I'll go look for a feedback form on the site to tell them as well.

  9. magnoliasouth
    August 2, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    This site ROCKS!!! Thank you so much for sharing it.

    Although I should also mention that it apparently has a Firefox glitch. I cannot rate movies in Firefox. I can do everything else, but the ratings scale just doesn't work for me. I had to use IE instead; a serious drawback.

    • Simon Slangen
      August 2, 2009 at 4:57 pm

      It works for me. I'm using Firefox 3 on Linux Ubuntu and Firefox 3.5 on Windows 7.

      • magnoliasouth
        August 2, 2009 at 6:28 pm

        Really? I have an Ubuntu machine, I'll have to check that later. I'm using Firefox 3.0.12 on XP. It's still not working properly. :(

        • Phoebe
          August 3, 2009 at 2:36 am

          Hi, magnoliasouth. Sorry for the glitch; it relates to Ubuntu, not Firefox. We're working to get Jinni running smoothly on Linux as soon as possible.

        • magnoliasouth
          August 3, 2009 at 3:41 pm

          Hi Phoebe. Actually I was meaning I was on XP. I have one Vista, 2 XP's and one Ubuntu. These are just my home computers!

          In any case I figured it out on my end. Evidently it's a Greasemonkey script. I'm not sure which script (the ones I use are my favs listed here http://userscripts.org/users/magnoliasouth), but when I disable Greasemonkey it works like a charm!

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