Why Google Play’s new review system sucks

Matt Gemmell:

There’s nothing to be gained from engaging with people at that level. Here we come to the nub of the matter: I’m not saying we shouldn’t be able to engage with customer reviews. We should be able to. Google understands that, but they’ve (as usual) chosen an odd and poorly-considered mechanism of encouraging app devs to air dirty laundry in public, and burn out due to having an additional public support forum over which they have zero control. That’s horrible. Count me out.

Gemmell takes a hard look at Google’s new reviews system which allows developers to talk with users; the renewed calls by iOS and Mac developers for a similar way to interact with customers on their stores; human nature; and what really can be done to affect positive change.

  • So it is a bad idea because developers can’t properly handle themselves in a conversation with reviewers? Lack of self control is a poor reason for Google not to do something for the platform.

    I do agree with some of his points though but self control isn’t one.

    • Peter Cohen

      Nice straw man, but no.

      Gemmell’s point is that getting developer/user dialogue going in the reviews area is a band aid on a bigger issue, which is effective support of the app. Give users incentives to submit support queries through the appropriate channels instead of using the review area as a backchannel to that end, which is how it gets used all too often in both the App Store and Google Play.

      • I never disagreed with his thoughts on doing something more just his first point on self-control.

        I’m a major optimist so I look at it as an opportunity to have a centralized location to interface with users and users don’t have to go through a sign up process on N different sites to get support on the X number of apps they have.

        Could there be something better? Sure but developers [even on iOS] have clamored for this and they got it. I’m in that group.

  • there are more reasons why it is not a good idea to let developers answer user’s review. here is a list http://blog.appsfire.com/is-letting-answering-to-app-store-users-reviews-a-good-thing-for-developers-no/

  • Here is my take on Google Play. I bought a new (but older model) android tablet. I read that it could access the “android app store” and I saw some old posts around the internet of people accessing the Android App Store as well. When I went to Google Play, a message popped up saying it is a “unsupported device”. So I sent an email to Google and started to email back and forth to a not-so-helpful Google help desk associate. What it came down to is if a tablet manufacture does not “pay licensing fees” to Google, then that tablet would not be allowed to access Google Play.. at all. Also, if there was some sort of “hardware compatibility”, then Google would not correct the code on their site (which was strange to hear.. because it’s Android.. Google developed Android from what I understand).

    So when I asked the Google help desk representative, what happens when brand new Android tablet manufactures do not pay on licensing fees, or the Google Play site changes again, does that mean that “any” tablet will be blocked in the future (other than their own ‘nexus’ tablet). No reply back.. nothing from the Google Rep’. I ended up installing the Amazon App store which is working well for me.. but a really poor way to maintain loyal customers. The other bad side of this, is the majority of App Dev’s out there are hosting new apps solely on Google Play… that really wings the rest of us who does not have access. There are “a lot” of tablets and users out there, in the same boat. I am sure there will be more in the future. I’ve worked in Information Technology for about 20 years now, muti-disciplined.

    • Which tablet?

      It makes sense for Google not to give carte blanche to “unregistered” devices.

      Google would never block Play to non-Nexus devices. They’d have to take Android off the “open source” list and that won’t happen.

  • David

    Like the page and lets show google we want a change