Listening to its users, Google will now rate the Android apps on Google Play Store as per region and device type. The up to 5-star ratings on the Google Play Store that usually hint at the quality of the app will now be tailored for a more specific indication.
Google will roll out the changes starting in November 2021. The ratings for Android apps would then appear to users based on the region where their device is registered. The rating segregation as per the device type will come in early next year.
So as Google notes in a blog, “a user in Japan will see app ratings generated from those submitted by other Japanese users.” This will work for all other regions Google operates in.
It further states that the transition will be expanded to include device type into these ratings. So the rating for an app will appear as per the user’s device – smartphone, tablet, foldable, Chrome OS, Wear, or Auto. It is easy to see how this would be a massive help in pre-assessing the quality of an app for a specific device you want to use it on, especially as Google deepens its presence in everyday gadgets like wearables.
Google says that “aggregate ratings don’t always tell the whole story.” The present form of ratings that an app receives on the Google Play Store can be unfair in certain aspects. Negative ratings from a specific area (e.g. due to a bug) can impact the global presence of an app on the platform. Conversely, app improvements for a certain device (like a tablet) may not be noted enough due to a much larger number of reviews by phone users.
Other than the recommended changes for the front end, Google also introduced new abilities for app developers through its Google Play Console. The company has made tweaks to the Play Console to now share much more data than before in a more flexible format.
First, it will now allow app makers to filter reviews as per the device type of end-users. This data will be visible as the Device Type dimensions on the rating page. Google says that this will help app developers to enhance their app experience for a targeted set of users and to track the effects of these changes.
Yet another change will let developers decide how they want their app ratings data to be aggregated – “daily, weekly, or every 28 days.” They can also select the time period they want to plot for assessing the rating data. “This allows you to access more granular data over longer periods of time,” Google states.
Google will notify app developers with an alert for their app “at least 10 weeks” before it rolls out the changes to the Play Store ratings. The alert will be shared only if it expects that an app will see a change of “more than 0.2 stars on any device type in a key market.” Developers can then take action to improve those aspects of their apps in time.