updated 12:00 am EDT, Tue April 10, 2012
Also adds star ratings and Chrome enhancement
Google has updated its Google Play (formerly Android Market) Music subsection with some new, "experimental" controls that include a toggle for using HTML5 rather than Flash for desktops, along with the replacement of the "thumbs up/down" rating system with a five-star rating, the iTunes standard. For Chrome users, the service can now provide desktop notifications. The changes mark the continuation of efforts to improve the service, which officially launched in November.
The HTML5 feature for streaming audio works in all browsers that support MP3 file playing over HTML5, including Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer. Noticeably absent from the list is Firefox and Opera, which curiously do not support HTML5 MP3 audio. The iOS web app of the storefront already supports HTML5 streaming.
The service has add some teething issues, in particular an unpublished limit on the amount of daily streaming allowed per user, even though users are listening to their own music that they manually uploaded to Google. The company continues to imply in its marketing that the service offers unlimited streaming.
The Music section has also been revealed to have had disappointing sales figures, fizzling some music industry hopes that it would offer a serious challenge to the dominant iTunes Store.