Android apps in the Google Play Store are now rated by region and device type

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Google shared a note mentioning changes to its Play Store ratings for apps. Going forward, reviews will be more tailored to a specific region and device type to give users a better idea of ​​what to expect from the app.

(Image: Reuters)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Google Play Store will soon have a division-based rating of apps.
  • The rating also reflects the type of device on which it is used.
  • Google urges developers to use the new data tools around the changes to gain more insight into their app experiences.

Google listens to its users and now rates the Android apps in the Google Play Store by region and device type. The up to 5-star ratings in the Google Play Store, which normally indicate the quality of the app, are now tailored to a more specific indication.

Google will introduce the changes from November 2021. The ratings for Android apps would then be displayed to users based on the region in which their device is registered. The assessment separation according to device type will take place at the beginning of next year.

As Google noted on a blog, “a user in Japan will see app reviews generated from the reviews of other Japanese users.” This works for all other regions where Google operates.

It also states that the transition will be expanded to include device type in these assessments. So the rating for an app is displayed according to the user’s device – smartphone, tablet, foldable, Chrome OS, Wear or Auto. It’s easy to see that this would be of tremendous help in pre-evaluating the quality of an app for a particular device you plan to use it on, especially as Google is deepening its presence in everyday devices like wearables.

Google says that “overall ratings don’t always tell the full story”. The current form of ratings an app receives on the Google Play Store can be unfair in certain ways. Negative ratings from a certain area (e.g. due to a bug) can affect the global presence of an app on the platform. Conversely, app improvements for a particular device (e.g. a tablet) may not get enough attention due to a much larger number of reviews from phone users.

Aside from the recommended changes for the front end, Google has also introduced new capabilities for app developers through its Google Play Console. The company has optimized the Play Console to now share a lot more data than before in a more flexible format.

First, app makers can now filter reviews based on end-user device type. This data is shown as the dimensions of the device type on the rating page. Google says this will help app developers improve their app experience for a specific group of users and track the impact of those changes.

Another change allows developers to decide how their app rating data should be aggregated – “daily, weekly, or every 28 days”. You can also select the time period that you want to display for the evaluation of the rating data. “This allows you to access more detailed data for longer periods of time,” explains Google.

Google will notify app developers with a “10 weeks minimum” warning for their app before the changes to Play Store ratings are rolled out. The warning is only shared when an app is expected to have a change of “greater than 0.2 stars on any device type in a major market”. Developers can then take steps to improve these aspects of their apps in a timely manner.

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