When the Play store apk last updated, the folks at Android Police noticed some reference pointing towards a Google+ tie in with user reviews, and now it's live. We figured it was coming when we saw all the reviews on the web go anonymous, and now whenever you go to leave a comment and review for an app you're first told it's going to happen, then you're switched to your Google+ account to do the deed.

It's surely something that's going to cause user-backlash, but it should also lead to more helpful reviews now that you're tied an account to the review. It's also a good way to pump numbers up, so prepare for those news stories as well.

It's easy to check out yourself, head to Google Play and leave a review!

Source: +#googleplusupdate

Android Central

There are 57 comments

HiTheresz says:

So, it's not a hiccup?!?!


Jezz_X says:

Yeah not a hiccup but a really bad idea to do that just looks terrible

edit: buy looks terrible I mean the "A google user" bit surely they could of kept all the old names and not reset it

I thought something was up when I noticed all the reviews were showing "A Google User"...

I guess they did that because some of the old user names might have matched different Google+ names and they didn't want there to be any confusion.

garfnodie says:

Don't you have to be logged into your Google account to begin with to even be able to leave a review? If you have a Google account, you have a G+ account, even if you've never done anything with it, it's there. So why couldn't they just make any old reviews automatically show your G+ name? I'm guessing that the DB that holds all the review data didn't, until now, contain the actual user info of who wrote the review, they just wouldn't allow you to post a review unless you were logged in.

icebike says:

Nope. I absolutely do not have a Google+ account every though I've had a Google account since dirt. (Remember when you had to have an invite to get on Gmail? My invite came directly from a Gmail devteam member).

The more Google tries to force me into Google+ the more I refuse to join.

I've written my LAST review for Google.

I believe I remember reading comments from you in the one x forums regarding you not using Facebook. Are you against social networking in general, or are there some 'social' networks (aside from android sites) you enjoy?


Jezz_X says:

I would say its a privacy thing it would be like facebook all of a sudden putting everyone's phone numbers retroactively on all their old posts

But its curious why they don't give people a choice like they did with youtube

**deleted - failed to follow thread**

ScottColbert says:

Not really an error, when you try to leave a review you get this message: From now on, reviews you write will be posted publicly using your Google+ name and picture.
Your name on previous reviews will appear as "A Google User."

Huh, I'll have to try it out to see if I hate it. It's understandable though. Hey if anything it might make more people curious about using Google+ for things other than rating apps.

spock123 says:

I don't get the problem?

The end result will be more honest reviews of applications, less spam, less trolling.

Jonneh says:

I agreed with spock123. I'm for it.

...less privacy.

mulasien says: you carry around a smartphone that tracks your location, knows your entire search history, and even 'spys' on you if you take advantage of Google Now.

But attaching a name to app reviews to cut down on worthless troll reviews is crossing the line...are you serious?

My iPhone doesn't have Google Now. So....I'm good.

I agree that something needs to be done about trolling reviews. Not denying that a bit. But boxing people into this without (from what I can see) any ability to opt out is just another strike against Google.

Apples to oranges, my friend. I don't care if Google knows where I am, or what apps I reviewed, they clearly already do since I'm logged in to the Play Store to write the reviews. Up until now I've trusted that Google keeps that information private and only shares it in aggregrate with third parties.

Google knowing what I reviewed is totally different than any random person reading the reviews seeing my real name. Google knowing what I reviewed is different than any one I know googling my name and finding a list of apps I've reviewed.

As for trolls, it takes about 60 seconds to open a Gmail account...anyone that wants to troll will not be stopped by this. It's kind of like DRM, it's hurting the honest folks who aren't doing anything wrong by ripping away a bit of their identification privacy while doing nothing to stop a determined troll from doing the undesired activities.

That said, do you really believe this is to stop trolls? I don't. I'm thinking it's just another attempt by Google to push us out of the closet and into using our real, naked identity profile for some reason.

marwerno says:

I am all with you there.
Now that you are forced to use "A" real name (it can be any, Google doesn't check if it is really YOUR name!) Trolls now will be probably using a Name of people that have given the Trolls counter.
Great, if now somebody doesn't like me, they sign up using MY Name and everybody thinks that post belongs to me! (How does one differentiate from one John Smith to another John Smith?)

misterfan says:

I'm for this, but I totally see a lot of negative reactions.

videomap says:

We finally have this function.
1) With the anonymous comment the developer can not contact you for help.
2) This prevents spam.
3) Is undemocratic to have critical without being able to respond.

In which democracy can be accused without being able to respond.

I hope google completely remove the ability to comment anonymously,also from the google play app inside the phone.

First, this is an app market, not a democracy. The two have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Second, wasn't the Play Store modified quite some time ago to allow developers to respond to individual comments? I recall reading that change, and even seeing a few developers do it in the reviews of apps I've looked at.

Third, if you're so worried about people hiding behind a semi-anonymous pseudonym, I challenge you to change the name you post here with from "videomap" to your Google+ or Facebook login...lead by example!

icebike says:


To adress your second comment, only developers with Top Developers badges can reply to comments made by users

Good to know, thanks. But the solution isn't to force my G+ profile out of the closet. If developers being able to respond to reviewers directly is the desired function, then let them do so without displaying my full identity to the world. I could live with a system that says if I review an app, I am authorizing Google to allow the developer to email me directly.

eBay does it even better...if I send a question to a seller through eBay, the seller must respond through eBay. He never sees my real address or name, but is able to contact me anyways. How difficult would a blind email system like that be for the all-powerful Google?

nighthawk700 says:

I just left a new review, and it put me as "A Google User." Is there a setting that needs to be switched to get my name associated?

Incubus123 says:

I've read that it only works with reviews written on the web for now..

MrSean490 says:

Awesome, now I can be scared of retribution when I exercise my right to deter users of a faulty product!

nighthawk700 says:

If there were any retribution, I'd think the powers that be at Google/the Play store would like to find out. Nice quick way to get an app (or a full developer) yanked.

icebike says:

So when you get sued by the developer for speaking the truth, Google is going to step up and protect you?

Did you see anything in the developer terms of service that prevents then from going after people that bad mouth their apps?

I wonder if the rating (giving stars) will also be linked to your G+ account name.

This really will have a chilling effect on reviews for many people. I don't review a lot of apps, but when i do, I think I am objective and fair, that still doesn't mean I want the whole world knowing that I purchased a particular app.

Google's turned down an ugly path here; almost facebook-like in it's lack of respect for user privacy. What's next down this path, Google spamming my Google+ circles with the fact that I posted a review on an app? I don't need friends, employees, business contacts who search my name on the web to see what apps I use.

I think Amazon does reviews right. Anyone can respond to a review with questions or criticisms, the review can be marked helpful/spam/unhelpful, the reviewer's name can be clicked to see all their other reviews, all without giving away my private identity unless I choose to use my real name as my Amazon reviewer name.

Count me in with those who will not be reviewing apps as long as this policy is in effect.

Edit: YouTube did this right, btw. They give you an option to link to Google+ id or not...why not take the same path with the Play Store.

If you people are so afraid of losing privacy and all that, don't review apps. I mean i do agree, to an extent, that google could have made it an option and kept everyone happy but that would defeat the purpose of this change. I think this is a good thing. This will help stop spammers, and people who are just out to flame a particular developer because they don't like that developer, or whatever the reason may be. This is really not a big deal, no need for an angry mob with flaming pitchforks knocking down Google's front door. Just my opinion, don't hurt me B-)

BartmanJax says:

I've written my last review for any app on the Google Play Store. Don't have or use Google+. Never will. At some point, you have to draw a line and not cross it.

mulasien says:

(copied from a reply to another similar post:) you carry around a smartphone that tracks your location, knows your entire search history, and even 'spys' on you if you take advantage of Google Now.

But attaching a name to app reviews to cut down on worthless troll reviews is crossing the line...are you serious?

There is a psychological difference though between putting your name out there for human consumption and being tracked by automated systems.

frageelay says:

I don't plan on using it either. I'm not citing privacy concerns as some have, I just don't see the reason why I have to use Google + just to rate an app. Looks like Google is trying to increase traffic on the site with this update. Wonder if it'll work...

denisew1972 says:

I agree, I didn't jump on the Google+ bandwagon in the first place because the last thing I need is ANOTHER social site to "check in / on" so I have just stopped leaving reviews all together. What bugs me is the apps keep prompting me to leave a review everytime I use it. Sorry Devs, I would but Google has made this frusting and I won't join the Google+ party just to leave a review. Many others also feel this way.

I challenge everyone here saying that it's not a big deal to lose your privacy to stop using a pseudonym login to post in these blogs and forums and to start logging in with their Facebook or Google+ accounts. Post your address and phone number as well. To paraphrase a few comments above, I mean, you don't have to post if you don't want to lose some level of privacy by doing so.

Where does the line get drawn?

patruns says:

I think Google's decision to change all the old reviews to "A Google User" is meant to address privacy concerns. By not making the changes retroactive you have a choice on whether you wish to continue adding reviews or not. Nothing is being forced on anyone. "Pure" Android is supposed to be a community of users. You don't have to participate, but you miss out on a lot if you don't.

umbrae says:

I don't mind them using the Google+ information. It will help reduce spam and help devs connect better to their users.

However, I just really wish the real name policy would be nixed from all social networks. An identity does not mean if has to be on your driver's license. Even a fake identity is still an identity and being a prick will still label you are a prick even though you couldn't be found in the phone book.

I have had a call sign since the beginnings of the internet. If I ever used my real name then no one would recognize me. Well except for the people I went to school with, but if they really mattered they would not have to use a social network to find me.

LHL2500 says:

I totaly misunderstood the title.
I was thinking:"What are they talking about? I gave the Google+ app a single star along time ago, why would it be available for reviews just now?"
Silly me.
I still don't know why it isn't optional to install it.

Good news surely for consumers.

Scumbag anti-reviewers & viral shills (either paid or free) can't hide under anonymous names anymore.

frageelay says:

Technically they can. However, they would have to be pretty bored. Anyone can open a Google account using any name. Snatch a photo off the web and you too can be a prince in Nigeria!

Cool, kinda makes sense.

dsignori says:

This whole thing seems to occur only from the web. I don't see this happening so far in Android .. ANyone else?

frageelay says:

Tried to rate an app using the N7, pop up just as the one in the story. I closed it.

No way. Ain't gonna happen for me. Google can just shove it up their a**. Other platforms are available.

Saturn1217 says:

This is a big deal. Google is arguably the dominant force on the internet and they think it is ok for anyone I randomly meet (or don't meet) in real life to be able to google my real full name and find out what apps I use, what books I've read, what movies I've seen based on my review history not to mention find out what I look like.

Maybe some of you aren't concerned about privacy. I'll admit that before this I wasn't really all that concerned either. But this goes too far. Google is trying to simultaneously coerce more people to use Google+ and wrongly discourage people from leaving legitimate negative reviews on apps. I read app reviews before any app I install and there just isn't that big of a spam problem. Certainly nothing to justify this.

I just bought a nexus 7. I own a galaxy nexus. I really like Android. I'm not going to panic yet. I'll just stop reviewing apps and if I need to I'll get in touch with the developer via email. But I'm very concerned with where Google is going and I am even more concerned that most tech blogs are letting Google get away with this...

Imagine if presidential elections worked this way...a publicly available list on the internet of the names and pictures of everyone who voted, and for whom, and let's just throw in their personal contact info while we're at it...some might not have a issue with this but that doesn't make it right.

Very, very well said. The trend in society today seems to place very little importance on personal privacy, between everyone using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Four Square, etc we know what the day to day activities are for most people out there.

Guess it is hard to blame Google too much as they are just feeding the beast in order to make their money. But the overall trend is one that makes me very uncomfortable.

frageelay says:

Not interested in signing up for Google + just to rate apps. This will hurt the developers. Can't believe Google is trying to force people to use their social networking site. They seem desperate to have people use it. Not sure why they couldn't come up with something else. This is just a sad move.

frageelay says:

Not sure how long it's been that way but the same thing applies to the Local app. Checked it out because I'm hungry and wanted to try somewhere new to me. The top post were by Google+ users and the rest where by a Google user.

dbareis says:

Seems like a good idea except that they changed the existing names to "A google user" (rather than leaving everything as is an maybe a genetic icon for a picture) and didn't give us the option to migrate them to our name. Its also stupid that I can't even edit an existing review and have it come up as me. I also want them to be visible in Google+ (like +1 are, hopefully much better implementation though).

hmmm says:

I don't have a Google plus account. I can't even leave a review now, it just tells me to sign up for Google plus. No thanks. I am sure not going to join a social network site to leave a review in the Google market. it's too bad people like me will no longer be able to leave feedback for others on apps any more.

This has nothing to do with privacy for me. I just don't want a Google plus account and it is painfully obvious Google is trying to increase users in Google plus. I have a gmail address tied to my phone already. That should be enough to leave an app review/rating.

unkilbeeg says:

I also don't have a Google Plus account. It's not privacy -- my "real name" is sufficiently generic that my gmail account is much more unique than my real name could ever be.

The trouble is, Google has shown itself willing to cancel accounts for what they perceive as a violation of their G+ "real names" policy. Not your G+ account, your entire Google suite of accounts. I'm in the paradoxical position of needing my Google services too much to risk signing up for Google+. I don't think I would be terribly at risk of violating their guidelines, but their enforcement has been capricious enough that I don't trust them. I'm not going to risk it.

So, I guess I don't get to leave reviews for Android any more.

So basically google+ didn't take off as well as they wanted it too, so now google are FORCING us to join it by making it compulsary with our android market/google play.

I'm so annoyed at this, I closed my google+ account a couple of months ago because its boring and useless. Now I'm being forced to rejoin it in order to review my apps?

Dirty move, google, dirty move.

gggirlgeek says:

Bye bye Google Play! Since most experienced users value their privacy they will use an app store alternative like appszoom to review and download apps now. You just ensured that reviews will no longer be contributed by the people whose opinion matters the most. I will never associate my account with Google's equivalent to Facebook. See ya!

Rexx Seven says:

On both of my HTC phones, instead of saying "A Google User", it just says "A Go..."

Erasing user names from reviews wasn't bad enough, the "A Go..." thing is unparalleled stupidity. Why is Google fixated on destroying the way users interact with each other (whether its reviews, threaded discussions or comments)? Take Google Play, Google Forums/Groups & The YouTube Comments system for example. Everyday they are breaking something. Why?? Why?? Why??

I really like Google Plus. I have joined some great communities where I've met wonderful people and accomplished a lot. However, Google Plus has a MAJOR SECURITY FLAW. It allows people to add you to their circles and there is nothing you can do about it. I was added by a pervert who started "sharing with me" (meaning photos). To this day I am "in his circle" (I will always show up on his pornography-laced page). My requests for Google to go in and remove me from his circle have fallen on deaf ears. It's creepy, a bit scary actually, and Google couldn't care less. If they intend to retain their customers, they might want to consider taking their security more seriously.