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Google Play doing even more to remove fake reviews and ratings

Google is constantly taking steps to combat a flood of fake reviews and ratings in the Play Store, and today reminded us of everything it's doing to fix the problem. Building on its previously announced initiative of fighting fraudulent app installs, Google is also now even more confident it can identify and remove fake reviews for apps automatically without the help of developers.

From the Android Developers Blog:

In continuing our efforts to combat spammy behavior, we've also improved the ways we identify and remove fake reviews and ratings. With this enhanced capability we are now able to identify and remove more fake reviews and ratings with greater accuracy.

Speaking directly to the developer community who are hurt the most by piles of negative reviews, Google says in "the vast majority of cases" no action will be required by developers — it will handle things all on its own, removing these false reviews and ratings in bulk.

Developers shouldn't rely on shady practices to boost ratings, either.

The announcement comes with an additional warning for developers, though: if you use a third-party marketing agency, you should make sure it isn't using many of the same spam-like or dishonest reviews to try and influence your rating postitively either. Google will continue to fight things on this side as well, as the overall goal is to have the rating for apps be an honest representation of the app, not just make every app rating high.

The hope is that by removing dishonest reviews (on both ends of the spectrum) both consumers and developers can be more confident when viewing an overall rating in the Play Store. If confidence is lost, app installs (and revenue for developers) go down.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • Google could start by requiring comments rather than letting people get away with just posting stars - that would help reduce the spam ratings.
  • It'd be interesting if the Play Store gave me the option to see the average rating if people who left comments vs. the average rating of people who didn't.
  • They need to check those movie ratings in Play Movies lol... How can 90% of the movies be worthy of 4+ stars?
  • They should work towards preventing bad reviews from people who didn't read the instructions as well.
  • This. I see bad reviews for the Amazon App because some folks didn't get their package on time.
  • If someone can't figure your app out, that's a UX problem. I think the real answer to this is to have clearer instructions.
  • Agreed, the onus is on the developer, not the user.
  • I wish they would stop people being spammed for reviews. I need to open my bank app to look at something and I get a pop over wanting a review. Its very irritating. It is not just apps. Amazon drives me crazy wanting a review for anything you buy.
  • This. Even AFTER you have reviewed an app, you still get nagged to leave a review. THAT makes me want to leave a negative review.
  • Right... How about remove those fake Allo 4 and 5 star ratings Google probably put themselves. We all know that app is no more than a 3 star.
  • I like Allo alot. It's not for everyone and when they get sms it will be that much better but for now it's my go to messenging service with a number of Google Assistant subscriptions running.
  • "We all" know that? Please, do not speak for "all" of us. I like Allo and find it insulting that someone would tell me what I know. I respect that you disagree with the ratings and have an opinion, but that does not mean that "we all" agree.
  • I highly doubt they did that. Quit your whining.
  • I like Allo I think I gave it 4 stars, and you reminded me, I must give it five stars
  • Look at all the sensitive millennials!
  • Nope. Baby Boomer here.
  • How about fake APPLICATIONS!
  • Yeah right, Google.
  • Didn't they remove people's reviews on play movies? Now I have to go back and forth between rotten tomatoes and play movies when deciding what to watch. It's just stupid. I wish they'd bring back the reviews under the movie titles.
  • How about putting dates on the apps too so I don't download 2011 apps
  • Read the description, maybe?
  • Add something along the lines of "I am not a robot" that can't be tampered with 👍
  • This^^ They should something like the checkbox stuff we see on PC, or maybe a little game (connect two objects with the same shape for example)...
  • I wonder if this means they'll be removing the tens of thousands of 1-star reviews left by Apple haters on the Apple apps?
  • Until they get rid of any and every Cheetah Mobile app because they are basically Ground Zero for fake reviews, ratings, and adware, I'm not buying this new thing Google is doing...
  • My favorite reviews are the ones that give between 4 to 4.8 (but never 5) stars and say: "easy to use". Every app has at least 5 of those parasites.
  • Or, how about bashing ratings off of actual app usage than stars? Hmm...