Google has introduced a new feature for music lovers on the full desktop version of their Play Store website. It now attempts to rank tracks of a particular album in order of their popularity. Once you pick an album of your choice, there’s a new “Popularity” column that will be visible to visitors from certain locations alongside the “Time”, “Artist”, and “Price” columns next to each and every song on the chosen album. The popularity is denoted by dots and ranges from a minimum popularity rating of one dot to a maximum of four. It is not immediately clear however, as to what constitutes popular in the Google scheme of things, but presumably, the number of purchases on the Play Store is the chief criterion. There is however, a lack of uniformity in the availability of this new feature. The new column is not available for every single album on the Play Store for some reason best known to Google. That holds especially true for multi-artist compilations and extended play albums.
This new feature wasn’t available till last week, and even now, it is not available to visitors from every country. Maybe Google is just in the process of rolling it out to more regions or maybe it is just testing the waters. Google has not released anything official about this new feature, as a result of which, a lot of questions remain unanswered. It is difficult to ascertain as to how helpful this dot-based rating will be to end-users in determining which tracks to opt for, but for people looking to get an idea about artists that they are not familiar with, it might indeed come in handy. It is worth remembering though, that as of now, this is strictly a desktop-version-only feature. It has not yet been rolled out to tablets and smartphones, and it remains to be seen if it ever will be, given the serious space constraints that hamper browsing experience on these new-age devices as compared to the good old PC.
Google has been playing around with a few new things on their search results, some pertaining to minor visual design elements while some others are more purposeful feature additions. It remains to be seen how this little tweak turns out, but having a bit of a heads up about the popularity levels of tracks from new or unfamiliar artists may not be such a bad thing after all.