AndroidEditorialsGood and EVO

Google launches new Play Store web version, but again fails at a very simple task

New Google Play Store

Google launched a new version of the Play Store on the web, and overall it’s a great improvement that is functional, aesthetically pleasing, and consistent with Google’s other recent UI changes. The new design emphasizes cards and sidebar navigation, although it’s missing one thing: the ability to view installed apps per device.

If you remember, the old version of the Play Store allowed you to view a list of every app you had every installed, and this ability remains in the new version. However, the old version also let you sort these apps by device, so you could quickly filter them based on what’s currently installed on your phone and tablet, for example. In the new Play Store, this functionality is nowhere to be found.

Unfortunately, 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,” or it will be revised to be even better. For example:

  • Google radically redesigned Google Talk, and forced the change on everyone who used that app on Android devices through an automatic Play Store update. In the process, Google also updated its Chrome extension, Gmail, and Google+ Messenger. (The latter is still available for Android, but will be going away soon.) The new Google Hangouts took away the ability to quickly and easily see who is online, and Google’s response was that people don’t really need that functionality. The new Google Hangouts also completely broke Gmail calling, and it took Google almost two whole months to incorporate that in the new Hangouts.
  • Google radically redesigned Google Maps, and took away Latitude. This wouldn’t have necessarily been all bad, but as it turns out, Google+ Locations – which is supposed to replace Latitude – doesn’t work correctly for a lot of people. Many families have come to depend on this service, with spouses keeping tabs on children and each other.
  • Google also took away the ability to easily cache a map for offline viewing, which is important for users who might travel to places without good cell service. Google says that it’s going to bring this back soon as a menu option, but as of now, it’s still not on my device.
  • Google Reader. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that one.
  • Finally, we have a prettier Play Store on the web – but another function that I use quite frequently is gone.

I’ve been a huge fan of Google for a while, and I use a lot of Google services. But this is starting to get ridiculous – even for me. I understand that Google is trying to focus more of its energies on Google+. I understand that Google’s ultimate goal is to serve us all ads and make money. I understand Google’s position about putting more time into fewer key products. But there’s also something to be said about putting all of your eggs in one basket.

Furthermore, if Google can afford Project Loon, and Google Fiber, and Project Glass, surely it can afford to wait a bit longer to properly beta test its products before releasing them to the general public. That’s what it used to do – remember how long Gmail was in beta?

Now, it just feels like everything is rushed. Google is trying to release updates too quickly with a sincere but often misguided intention to fix the bugs later. And unfortunately, as a result, its services are starting to suffer.

What do you think?

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

Avatar of John F

23 thoughts on “Google launches new Play Store web version, but again fails at a very simple task

  • Avatar of JRDemaskus

    “Putting all your eggs in one basket”
    That is called “Cloud Computing”
    If you rely on a service you have no control over…
    And then they change something…
    And you don’t like it…
    You are SOL!
    Just wait until their servers crash and take your data with it. You will miss your old platter HD and wish your phone had an SD.
    Peace

    Reply
  • Yes. I feel exactly the same. They are rushing things out with a fix it later approach. It’s horrible. And reminds me of a certain other company which is why I don’t own an iPhone to begin with! My biggest beef with google was one service you didn’t mention…all acess music. Horribly rushed out. Problems on phones, problems on desktop computers bugs everywhere. Other streaming music services don’t have these issues, so why do they? Their software development process is broken.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Fifth313ment

    I can no longer uninstall apps remotely!? I can’t sort or see what I have installed on my phone? I think the new design sucks, even the GUI so I don’t agree with how good it looks. Having to press and arrow button to see the categories is BS. Google is acting more and more like Apple and it’s scary!

    5th

    Reply
    • Wow, people hate change. How about looking at your
      phone to see what apps are on it. You can also add and delete apps on your phone.

      Reply
      • Avatar of Fifth313ment

        Well, Erik, I have two friggin phones running Android smarty pants (and many have more than that!)! Now I can’t tell which phone has which app. Also using a huge screen computer is easier to manage than a 4 inch screen. Also the online web version showed apps that don’t appear in the Android Play Store list. System apps and such appeared in the online version but not on my phone. The only way I could rate or leave a comment was via the online version which is now gone. Also the new play store has drop down menus which are horrible design elements. And when a company changes something it should be for the better. When I click my apps I now get a thirty page list of EVERY APP I’VE EVER INSTALLED! Why shouldn’t it be sorted by phone or last installed, etc. Get a life ERIK, with a K.

        5th

        Reply
        • You can’t look at two phones? I’m sure they are close buy, probably one in each pocket. It doesn’t take a lot of time, which I’m sure you do not care about. Seams you have plenty of it, writing reviews, rating apps, posting on web sites.

          Erik with a K

          Reply
          • Avatar of Fifth313ment

            I’m just messing with you Erik, but seriously. All other new issues aside not being able to sort reviews to your phone or rating and also not being able to sort your purchased apps is crazy. I don’t know how they could justify that change without having an alternate solution first. If Google is going to make something better make us have the ability to see when we purchased an app and when we last installed it. And separate from the legions of free ones we’ve downloaded over the past 5 years. Come on Erik you have to admit this yourself?

            5th

          • Yea, just having a little fun. Flexing those internet muscles. Would be nice to separate purchased from all the apps downloaded over the years plus last installed. Peace

  • I can’t even see what all apps I have as it’s evidently everything I ever downloaded ever… which amounts to two or three apps a day for two years?

    Reply
    • Avatar of Fifth313ment

      I just found another huge issue that makes me despise Google updates even more! You can no longer sort app reviews by device type and rating or helpfulness. I used to use this on every app as I would check to see if a game or app would work with my phone with no issues. Also sorting by rating would allow me to see what gripes were on a specific app. What the heck is Google doing?

      5th

      Reply
  • Avatar of Brandon Harris

    LOL Google Maps is STILL in beta — And they just dropped a major overhaul! (Also, I might add, in beta.)

    Reply
  • Avatar of Simon Belmont

    Yeah. A lot of things were removed and I hope that Google is bringing them back.

    They took away the aforementioned viewing off installed apps by device, uninstalling apps remotely from the web, viewing permissions without being signed in (really annoying for me), the 30 day install activity chart, and this is just the big things. These are core functions in the Google Play Store that I’ve come to rely on, and it’s ridiculous that a UI overhaul would necessitate their removal, even if only temporarily.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Fifth313ment

      They will put a few features back in but they won’t be anywhere near the original. Just like maps and latitude. They put in Google Plus which is horrid, uses a ton of RAM and locations of Google Plus is useless. Google forced me to use Google Plus for Google now and now they are making me use it again for Latitude functionality. They are starting to look like Apple every day.

      5th

      Reply
  • it also only returns one page of results now when you search for something…looks like fewer than 50 results returned on everything…

    Reply
  • wow really starting to not like this site

    Reply
    • Avatar of Simon Belmont

      Psst. The door is over there.

      Don’t let it hit you on the way out. Bye.

      Reply
  • One thing only led me to this sight: Searching for a solution to the discovery that the play store no longer allowed the separation of apps by device.

    So the first paragraph of the “Don’t be Evil” entry in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_be_evil) contains the ironic statement by a Google employee: (Paul) Buchheit, the creator of Gmail, said he “wanted something that, once you put it in there, would be hard to take out”…

    Google, please put it back, it’s useful.

    Reply
  • This works on the typical diet is meant to physically remove cellulite from the redness and other sometimes painful symptoms that
    rosacea can cause. There is even a TELEVISION SET on
    the skins surface. Although the situation of the degree programs and there can be easily afforded.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Fifth313ment

      “There is even a TELEVISION SET on
      the skins surface.” I gotta see this! LOL, SPAM is tasty!

      5th

      Reply
  • Avatar of Dean in UK

    I totally agree that the removal of critical app and device management functions is a backward step. I just used the new Google support feature for Google Play called ‘call me’ I ended up speaking to a Google support guy free of charge and was able to vent my dissatisfaction to him. He has logged and passed this to developers. I strongly encourage everyone else on here who is unhappy to do the same. The process was really quick and simple. Tell them what you think!

    Reply

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