If you happened to use the web version of the Google Play Store on your computer in the past few days, you may have noticed something nice: Google has brought back the much-requested sorting options for reviews, just like in the old version of the Play Store. Users are now able to sort reviews by helpfulness, rating, or newest; by devices that are included in the user’s profile; and by app versions. I’m not sure when this happened, as I just noticed it myself this weekend, but it must have been relatively recent.
This is all well and good, but these sorting features should have never gone away in the first place. Yet again, when Google redesigned the Play Store, it launched a new version that seemed half-baked and poorly planned, without the needs of end users at the forefront. Yes, the new design is aesthetically pleasing, and yes, it’s consistent with Google’s other recent UI changes, emphasizing cards and sidebar navigation. So why was something so basic and fundamental, which users have come to rely on, removed for such a long period of time?
I’ve noted in the past that this seems to be a new trend at Google: rather than thoroughly testing new ideas with existing users, Google has formed a terrible habit of forcing radical new designs on everyone all at once, oftentimes stripping away previous functionality, with a promise that the functionality will return “soon,” with no timeframe as to what that means. Similar things happened when Google rolled out the new Hangouts, and when Google took away Latitude with no desktop equivalent in place.
Additionally, even though I’m happy that this functionality has finally been restored, Google still hasn’t fixed the even bigger problem of users not being able to tell which apps are installed on which devices. Instead, clicking on “My apps” brings up a list of every single app you’ve installed – ever. Depending on how long you’ve been using Android, this is quite a list, and even my powerful Chromebook Pixel is having trouble loading the page, since all of them load on a single page. That’s just poor design, plain and simple.
And it’s a little disconcerting that all of this is coming from Google, a company that is normally known for doing awesome and innovative things. Let’s hope that Google puts a big priority on fixing the rest of the desktop version of the Play Store.