Google Play review trolls beware! Developers no longer have to remain silent when faced with flaming on their app listings.
Google today announced (along with a major redesign to its developer site) the ability for devs to respond to customer reviews on their apps in Google Play. This has been a long-requested feature, for the obvious reason. App reviews and star ratings mean life and death for an app. And while many customer reviews are helpful, you'll also see a number of reviews that don't make sense, or ding an app for something the developer has no control over.
Ever seen the Stupid Market Comments account on Google+? This is what we're talking about.
"One star. Annoyed. Can't pass Level 17. Can anyone help me?"
Now, the developer can respond.
OK, so flamers and trolls are the negative side of this. On a more positive note, developers will be able to actively address issues and answer questions. (Until now, that's been next to impossible.) And that's a definite bonus, said developer Saleh Esmaeili, who's bringing the popular Carbon Twitter client to Android.
"Many users leave feedback meant for app developers as app reviews, and some even report bugs while reviewing apps," Esmaeili told Android Central. "It will be a great opportunity to overcome the limitation and answer back right where it is asked."
And that's exactly what he'll be able to do. Developer responses will be posted publicly, on the app listings, right alongside the existing reviews. And if you leave a review on an app and the developer responds, you'll get an e-mail letting you know your comment was answered. You'll then be able to contact the developer directly if you have further questions.
One catch: Google's initially rolling out the feature to developers who have a "Top Developer Badge," but that should cover a good many of the most popular apps out there.
All in all, it's an excellent addition to the selection and purchasing experience on Google Play.
More: Google Mobile Blog