In its latest attempts to stamp out fake reviews, Google has announced ‘big changes’ to the current state of app reviews.
Currently the stars system for reviews of apps is calculated on user reviews over the lifetime of the app. But in the future the app’s Play Store rating will place more emphasis on its most recent ratings.
According to Google, developers will be able to preview their apps’ new ratings in the Google Chrome Console from this week. While us end-users will start to see the new ratings system by August.
Google will also be introducing a suggested replies feature. This, they said would make it easier for developers to respond to user comments and reviews. Google said the suggested replies will be based on the content of user reviews and from this developers will be able to accept suggested replies, customise them or create their own message.
Google has also announced security features with Google Play Store which are aimed at improving the security of apps through the Android App Bundle.
The app bundle will feature app signing key upgrades for any new apps installed. This, Google said would help developers upgrade the cryptographic strength of keys for signing new apps and updates on Play Store.
It seems that developers often sign their apps with old keys and Google said the new feature will be the ‘only backwards-compatible way to increase their strength.’
On a busy day Google said it was also addressing the issue of getting users to update an app. This is a challenge developers face regularly but now the new in-app updates will allow users to update an app without leaving it.
From now on developers will be able to implement an update process with either an ‘immediate’ or a ‘flexible’ option. The former presents a full-screen prompt that tells users they need to download the latest version in order to continue using the app. While the flexible option allows a user to keep using the app while downloading the update.