Well, folks, we don't want to say we told you so. But if you'll take a look at any app in the web version of the Google Play Store, you'll see that almost all of the reviews have had the name entry changed to "A Google User." Try to add a review, and you'll find that you're required to do so from your Google+ account.


The change seems to have affected the on-device view a little differently - according to checks on multiple devices here at Android Police, the names that were formerly there (usually linked to the old Google Profiles) are just plain gone. Putting in a new review from an Android device at this point, even while logged into Google+, will create yet another entry by "A Google User." Reviewing via the web, even if you've already entered a review, will require linking to Google+. We assume that a forthcoming update will bring the functionality to the Play Store app itself. Google has previously pulled the same switcheroo with Chrome apps and Google Maps reviews.

horizontal fix


As shown in our APK teardown of the latest Play Store release, the ability to share your reviews on Google+ should be coming soon. While this change certainly makes things seem a little anonymous at the moment, the switch to Google+ integration should help developers respond to complaints posted on the Play Store. Privacy advocates may feel differently.

a google user

Update: It looks like the server-side update is already rolling out. Nexus 7 users are already spotting the integration dialogue when they try to add new reviews - it should be showing up for everyone soon enough.

2012-11-27 00.34.56

Thanks, Mike!

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Excellent, I welcome the G+ integration.

    However, I don't understand at all why Google had to anonymize all previous reviews. That makes no sense at all to me - why not just leave them alone with the old names?

    • TheWhiteLotus

      Probably because I could have chosen Artem Russakovskii as my previous review name. It might cause some issues because they didn't do anything to verify identities of them, as they were just usernames and not real names. They want only real identities, or "Anonymous" ones.

    • Gunsranger

      Yes , I also dont get it , why making them anonymous ! They can just leave it like that :O

    • Robert Blenkinsopp

      I agree, I think that they should keep the only reviews, with name, but mark the new ones with a G+ logo so it's verified (like the Twitter tick) or alternatively mark the old ones as unverfied. "A Google User" is entirely unhelpful, as only google users can use the store, they should simple remove the name label for old reviews if they are going down that road.

  • TheWhiteLotus

    I personally think this is great. Devs get to respond to anyone, people don't leave really stupid, nasty reviews, and even other users might be able to respond to you instead of devs to help sort out your issues. You don't HAVE to post a review. You can still give it stars without writing anything, so I don't see why people wouldn't like this.

    • TheWhiteLotus

      I just wish Google+ would support inline comments. It's a pain to look through hundreds of them for +whoevertheywererespondingto.

    • http://twitter.com/dubnukem dubnukem

      IMO the problem is you can't even leave star reviews without signing up for G+

      • TheWhiteLotus

        Google+ is enabled on every new Google account by default, and you already need a Google account to even use the Play Store, let alone comment on something. So really, the issue is that some people don't want a Google+ profile at all, but still want to be able to leave their mark somewhere using their Google account. I think that is a problem, because it makes perfect sense to me that people who want to leave comments and share things with others should use Google's system for comments and sharing things with others. It falls under the Google+ category perfectly.

        That being said, I do think Google should allow you to post as a nickname/alias, but limit only one alias to everyone.

        • Lucas Nicodemus

          It's worth clarifying this - the signup flow doesn't require the creation of a Google+ account anymore - it highly suggests it but you can skip that portion.

          • TheWhiteLotus

            What do you mean? I'm pretty sure a Google+ account is automatically created with Google accounts.

        • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja ZZ

          I was able to create a non-G+ alt just fine a month or so ago.

        • tookieboy

          No, people being forced to use their G+ profile, especially their real one, would be beneficial to the community as a whole. Previously, you can see reviews that are extremely rude, you won't even guess where they learn their manners from.

          By allowing an alias, it provides the shield keyboard warriors love. No, but thanks. Unless they use fake profiles, I will get 'reviews that [I] trust'

          • http://twitter.com/hurrdedurp123 s

            Fuck yeah, being forced to do something is really great.

          • Wam31

            "Unless they use fake profiles"

            Exactly ! The G+ integration doesn't change anything. They'll just end up with A LOT LESS feedback than before and that's it.

            My Google account used across my Android devices is a dummy account with no information in it. I don't use G+ or Facebook, but even if I did, I wouldn't use it to post comment everywhere.

            What you are saying is that everyone MUST become a Public Person with a public life.
            I'm sorry, but I don't ! I don't need the world to read my posts. I don't want anyone to be able to know what I say just by typing my real name in Google... I don't want my future boss to be able to know everything about me before we even meet !

          • tookieboy

            Great! Means we'll have lesser negative feedback and completely useless criticisms stuff like "app sucks", "this developer is stupid" etc. I'm not saying that you say stuff like this, nor am I saying all the current aliased comments are horrid.

            I, for one, welcome this change. At least now 5-star reviews are more trustworthy, especially if the critic has a real name and profile pic of a human's face.

          • Wam31

            In a way I completely agree. I means, I'm a developer, and I do get angry when people would just insult the dev because it doesn't work on their device (even if it's been advertised as not functional), or when a particular feature is not available yet, or even rating 1 star with no argument whatsoever !

            Some people are dumb, some are just assholes, you'll always have to deal with them. I just don't think forcing people to use their identity is the solution. I know I never will. Period.
            Not only will it never work (like the fight against piracy...) but you'll be trading your liberty for... well nothing basically.

            As Ben Franklin famously said :
            "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither".
            It applies to a wide range of things from your Patriot Act to Anonymity on the Internet, and is my way of thinking.
            I love that quote ;-)

          • kithrathmange

            I very much agree. people being rude or jerks is a problem. But forcing the use of a service, especially one that requires disclosure of identity(or at least that openly attempts to require thus) is not the solution. I do not use facebook, or google+ because I dont see any legitimate reason for them to have my full name or any information about me beyound me aliase(and I dont go around flaming people or being an ass).

          • rusty

            Yes, but a G+ account can be faked too. Nothing is gained by using G+, other than google pushing their own social network.

        • OldSchool

          I don't mind having to have a profile and holding abusive reviewers accountable but if only Google would allow an alias.

    • okungnyo

      Agree completely. But...how do you edit/delete old reviews from the Play Store app?? They all show up as "A Google User" and I'm trying to go through all of them and associate them with my Google+ but there's no option to do so...

      • Ben

        Copy yours comments and past as new.

        • Ben


          • okungnyo

            You can't, in the Play Store app...

    • ccrashh

      But it makes no sense. Here's me posting with my Google + account nickname. Not my name. I could also create a totally fake, but real sounding name. How does this help anyone?

  • Ittiam

    If they dont have a feature to post anonymously, atleast we could have a feature to make it visible only to developer

    • Vito Cassisi

      If what you have to say is really that compromising, email the developer instead.

  • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja ZZ

    That "Stupid Market comments" G+ page will have rough roads ahead. :(

    • ReasonableBloke

      Well, I've seen a good number of sites that use Facebook login for the comment section in hope for more civilized discussion, that doesn't stop the stupid comment.

  • mesmorino

    I for one just wish they would stop trying to force G+ on everything and everyone.

    • Vito Cassisi

      So you'd rather they create a separate identity system just for Play? That's silly.

      • mesmorino

        They don't need a separate identity system, they already HAVE one: your Google account, which you need to even be able to use the Play store in the first place. What I am talking about is their connecting your Google account with your G+ profile

        • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja ZZ

          It's clear the regular Google account didn't meet their internal standards of what an identity system should be, hence why G+ exists at all.

          They're not really positioning G+ as a separate part of your Google account, but rather as an universal upgrade of the entire Google account itself which unlocks functionality in individual products (they even call it an upgrade when you sign up). So pretty much every product is being rejigged so that the plain Google account can only access the subset of functionality unrelated to social/identity, and a Google+ account being able to access the whole hog.

          It's a fairly logical division, and the direction doesn't seem as haphazard/forced when viewed this way.

          • mesmorino

            When you put it that way it makes more sense, it's just that G+ should be the one able to access the social subset, and the Google account, everything. I think it works better that way anyway, because then you're not forced into the wasteland that is G+ (since you're already forced into the Google accounts situation for the play store etc)

          • loldroid

            That makes sense BUT: 'upgrade' for me means that you have the CHOICE to improve a service. If you want to upgrade and unlock new functionality, then go for it. But I should not be forced to upgrade. But that's what the Play Store is doing right now and that's what I dont like.

    • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja ZZ

      They view it as the "social spine" of the entire companys products so it was inevitable really.

      • mesmorino

        Oh I agree, it's just that after however long it's been around, it's still nothing to write home about (relatively speaking, naturally)

        • Lucas Nicodemus

          Yeah, I'm with you on that one. For something that's the social backend of Google, you'd think they'd put effort into it constantly - while it's sat stagnant for several months now.

          • Jonathan Warden

            Sat stagnant? Have you been on Google plus? I use it everyday. My follower count is triple that of my friends on Facebook, and I follow more people on G+ than I do with Twitter or Facebook. Google actively makes posts about itself and Android, and there is a HUGE community of people there. The problem is, G+ isn't Facebook. You're friends might not be there. You may have different expectations. Those things are fine, because G+ is it's own beast. I've got like, three close friends and a handful of family members there. The rest of my people are a huge community of like-minded individuals with similiar interests. It's a fantastic way connect with those who share your interests, discover new content and dont even get me started on Hangouts.

          • 8Charlie

            Uhm, that's you my friend. Step outside of your own little bubble and join the rest of us out here. I love G+ but FACT is that it's nowhere near Facebook when it comes to adoption rate. And it's humiliating when you compare the average time spent on G+ with that of FB. Not to mention the average amount of posts per person. Forcing Android users into the system is not progression. At least opening up the API fully to developers, that would be some progression. There's still not a single app that can directly share to Google+.

    • TheWhiteLotus

      See, if we used Google+ for commenting on Android Police, stupid comments like this probably wouldn't be made.

      • mesmorino

        You're obviously an idiot. My comment wasn't stupid. Yours, on the other hand was completely dumb. If you're not prepared to have a rational, reasonable discussion then get the fuck out of my face, troll. Downvote and move on. It's too early in the morning to be arguing with someone with a chronic case of Opinion Myopia

        • ScottColbert

          Actually, it was.

          • mesmorino

            No, you just think it was. Fortunately though, I don't give a rat's ass what you think, especially since you're wrong.

          • 8Charlie

            To be honest, his comment was quite on point. Even Google employees have publicly commented and criticized Google for putting so much attention on trying to make Google+ more popular instead of just focusing on it's core businesses.

      • http://twitter.com/hurrdedurp123 s

        Correct, because if we were using Google+ we would be brainwashed.

    • tookieboy

      Gotta get used to it. Google+ is Google.

      • mesmorino

        That's a pretty good article!

  • Himanshu

    Lawsuit comes from a frustrated user supported by privacy advocates in 1, 2, 3...
    Personally, I feel its a good move. And I don't mind my previous reviews being published from my Google+ account. I have always been sincere in my reviews.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      So... never then? 1, 2, 3... ∞

  • http://twitter.com/Sp1tfirestarter Marius Oprisan

    Why would i want to reveal my G+ account to all the people in the world? Obviously i'm not gonna rate or review any app from now on. I understand that Google wants to unify and merge all their products, but some of us don't want to see our names in there. As for the older reviews being anonymously, i guess Google wanted to avoid being sued by people who don't take their privacy lightly. Once something was anonymous, i guess most of the people would mind if it went public without your accept.

    • defred34

      i dont mind names...but full names AND pic is ridiculous!

      • GraveUypo

        yep. i don't have a real profile in any social network, but the very idea of them forcing this just means i won't be reviewing apps anymore, and that's what 90% of the people will also do. i don't see an upside to this if you're not a developer.

    • Ataul Munim

      There'll be a subsection of people like yourself, Marius Oprisan, who don't wish to reveal their name to the public.

      While the developers (and other users) might lose a sizeable amount of potential reviews because of this, as a developer, I'm happy because it means when someone does post a negative review, I can work with them and notify them personally if a fix is available (perhaps remind them to re-review the app if the problem is fixed), and it's less likely to be a troll.

      As a user, I'm happy because it's easier to see when a single reviewer is posting suspiciously awesome reviews of all of that publisher's apps, and hopefully will prevent a lot of spammy comments from hiding the decent reviews people don't mind attaching their name to. I would personally trust a review more if someone had their real name there, but maybe that's just me.

      • http://twitter.com/Sp1tfirestarter Marius Oprisan

        I don't disagree with your developer point either. But in my opinion first name was enough. Why do they force me to post my pic and my full G + name ? I'm already sick and tired of people that follow me on G+ promoting their dubious sites and businesses, but as you see i have no problem in posting here with my twitter account and my real pic on my free will, not being forced by Android Police. I'm not shy and i don't have anything to hide, but this option is an invite to spammers and stalkers. Maybe people don't want everyone to know they have installed "Smack my b*tch up" or "Slap that a$$" app (those were imaginary examples), but they still want to review them. If i knew it will get to this, i would have made a dummy gmail account for Google Play, now i guess it's too late considering the amount of apps i bought over the years and i don't want to use multiple accounts in Google Play. So for me easiest way of not complying to Google's wish is to stop reviewing apps. I don't want to sound too harsh, but Google might get in trouble for this, at least in Europe, where European Commission slapped Facebook and other companies for less.

      • GraveUypo

        a better functionality for that purpose would be allowing responses in the rating system. you know, kind of like this very board. what google wants is just to push their stupid social network aggressively.

    • Marcelo

      I see no reason even to have a G+ account in the first place. I don't use G+ or Facebook, these are services that do not make any sense to me. I surely will not create one just for writing app reviews. I'll just not write any review any more, it is so much easier. However, If I did use G+, I would not use my account to make reviews either.

  • coversnails

    I hope there is a system to report any abuse which could occur as a result of Google+ integration. It's very rare but I've seen developers responding extremely rudely to valid critisms, the same goes for abusive users who may contact the negative reviewers of their favourite apps.

  • cy_n_ic

    Google i love you...i really do but i want nothing to do with google+ and i will not be forced to use it for ANYTHING. Ill just stop commenting on the play store all togeather.

    Posted by a google user.

    • NickyA


      (wait, what did I just do?)

    • A google user, not G+ user.

      I whole heartily agree with this.

    • Jonathan Warden

      You don't have to use G+ at all. You just have to have the account, and have your reviews not be annonymous. So, you're not being forced to use G+. You're being required to post any reviews on apps as yourself. You'll never be forced to log into G+ and circle folks and post statuses. Your arm isn't being twisted into sharing circles and having hangouts. Although, really, if you do use any social networks, you should totally use Google plus. I love that shit. At first, I didn't like the idea of having to use your G+ account for reviews, but it occured to me that there are a lot of good reasons for it.

      • 8Charlie

        I dont have to use the product, I just have to buy it or accept it. What about "I don't wanna!" You sound like a timeshare salesman. I think some people will just stop commenting.

        And Google+ is a social network, so why force me to use it. I'm not trying to be social when reviewing an app. I'm just trying to review an app. Why should I have to join a social networking site to review an app. It's ridiculous.

        What abput apps that are shady, political or dating apps. If I want to review that new "find sex in your neighbourhood"-app, why I won't appreciate having to broadcast that I use that app to the whole world.

  • Fernando

    In Galaxy Nexus 4.2 is already running.

  • Notafanofsocialmedia

    I'm done writing reviews after this change.

    • masha

      Absolutely agree. me too.

  • aku

    What the heck man, google really knows how to push people to use their services. I dont use google+, I dont use google currents, I dont use google messenger or play books but yet there they are on every device like an eye sore. I like posting reviews to give feedback to devs but I dont care to have it linked to a service I dont use and then be forced to use it. what crud

  • Nathan J

    I don't get it -- what's the problem with using your G+ account? It's not a socially viable social network. If you're a professional, it might be, i.e. a LinkedIn alternative, but it's definitely not an alternative to Facebook. It's better than Facebook, but people just aren't adopting it.

    I have a G+ account, but I don't use it because nobody I know uses it. I just follow a couple pages. But I use my real name there, and have no problem posting my reviews under my real name. I'm using my real name here (sans all letters but the first of my last name). We're not debating politics or religion. Google Play isn't 4chan or The Pirate Bay. We're reviewing apps. Nothing we post should make us ashamed to sign our real name to it. If it is, we shouldn't be reviewing these apps, we should just uninstall them, or contact the developer privately.

    • barak

      I don't want a G+ account. I only have a Facebook acc because a company I used to work at required it - I haven't touched it in a year. I'm not into social media whatsoever, so why should I adopt it? Why am I forced to adopt it?

      But more importantly, I find Google efforts at forcing users into merging their Google services under one single account alarming and something I want nothing to do with. I like to keep things separate. I don't want my private email (Gmail) and private mobile phone number connected to a social network encompassing everything from Youtube to G+.

      • barak

        Not to mention, as far as I know G+ still requires you to use your real name. Until they change thar there's absolutely no way I want to use it. Connecting my real name to my online identity? No thanks.

        • spydie

          No it doesn't. I changed my name to a fictitious name and picture to a blank.

    • Freak4Dell

      People are afraid that other people will actually see the stupid things they write on the internet and be able to draw the line back to them now. Before, it was anonymous, so you could post whatever you wanted.

      Other than that, there's no good reason to be against this (and that's not a good reason at all). If you already have a G+ account, then great, you don't have to sign up for anything new. If you don't want to share your reviews, then don't. If you download an embarrassing app, don't review it. If you don't have a G+ account, then just make one and don't use it (or use it, if you prefer). If you're reviewing stuff on the Play Store, you already have a Google account, so it's not like you have to give any extra information to start a G+ account.

  • jamaall

    At first, I was like "i don't want my friends to see the reviews i posted". But then i realized that no one used G+ so it didn't matter anyway! I like G+, its just that no one i know uses it

  • defred34

    I won't mince words here...man this is so fucked up! full name and pictures? no thank you. now an ipad 4 looks damn bloody enticing

  • http://twitter.com/hurrdedurp123 s

    Most retarded decision by Google thus far.

  • Sean

    Same setup happened with the Chrome WebStore a while back. It makes sense, I mean what's the point of having an "identity layer" if it's not used for this sort of thing? I approve.

  • CeluGeek

    I don't mind Google taking anonymity out of Play Store reviews or YouTube comments. What I hate is how they keep forcing their crappy excuse of a social network nobody but their fanboys likes, down users' throats. I can just see it when Google forces every GMail user into a Google+ account. "Look at how many more users Google+ has compared to Facebook and Twitter!"

  • http://thedangerbrain.com/ Alfonso Surroca

    It's about time! I, for one, love that they finally started forcing Google+ profiles on YouTube commenters; one way to lessen the number of worthless comments is to attach a real name to them. So, I'm glad to see the same on the Play Store. G+ all the things!

    • http://twitter.com/Sp1tfirestarter Marius Oprisan

      Difference is that you can still post under the name you've chosen for your account when you registered on YouTube. In Google Play you have no other option.

    • spydie

      That doesn't solve anything. Most won't be real names. I, for one, changed my name to a fictitious name on google+ and a blank picture. Compromising our privacy will still be circumvented by people that don't want their name and picture posted to the world when we had our google+ information available only to friends/circles. Getting a second (or third or fourth, etc) google+ name/identity is another solution.

  • Dan

    Liar. You love saying "we told you so". Especially when other android news sites are acting like this is an amazing development.

  • Cherokee4Life

    Is it possible then to somehow search for all your reviews? Or say you read a shady comment that looks a little off, can you look at all the reviews that person made to see if they just blow smoke or what? That would be interesting.

    also about the picture and full name debate. Google is doing the same sh*t that Facebook does, and links your pic and comment/like to something. Don't really see the big deal. If you don't want people to see your sh*t either don't use that social media or just don't comment/review on things on the completely secure and safe internet.........

  • Chromejob

    So all reviews up to today are by "A Google User." $LAME Something a high school student could've avoided with rudimentary SQL skills.

  • Simon Belmont

    So, I guess I can't leave a review anymore unless I join G+. Okay.

    I'm tired of Google shoving G+ down my throat. They did this with YouTube last year and the backlash made them make it optional.

  • Jeffrey Smith

    I wish I could link previous reviews to my G+ account. I tried it from the desktop with my Redbox app review, but no luck. Finally I copied the text of the old review, deleted the review, and wrote a new review (pasting in the text of the old review).

  • Eric G

    Whew, for an moment I though I had to use one of the four predefined social medias over here.

    I don't like Google+ and I don't want it. But I read that most people think that with using Google+ stupid comments are over. Think again, you don't have to be an Einstein to get a Google+ account. Probably most Einsteins won't have Google+ :)

    Probably a lot of ranking and comments will be lost. Programmers, if your ranking is lower, you know why. So now I can't leave comments in the play store, I will send an email to the programmers: Sorry, I have no Google+. Great app.
    Hopefully a lot of people will follow in doing so, even if they have Google+, so we have a better chance that Google will come back on their new policy.

  • bored

    Really terrible idea. I dont want my google+ account to be connected. i want to make my reviews without this connection. Kinda sucks

  • Palmer Nyako

    This isn't very smart.

  • Bipon74@gmai

    Its good

  • Anon E Mouse

    This one of the worst thing to happen to Android. Not everyone wants a Plus account and just because people value their privacy or don't want a fully searchable public profile doesn't mean they should be restricted from reviewing apps. Anonymity doesn't always equal troll.

  • londobali

    i wont be rating anymore apps until i can do it without g+
    i DONT like to be forced to join a service. i'm a real person in the world, i dont need to be a real person in the web. I dont want to be known in the web. Might be that i'm paranoid, or i just dont like to be public on the web.

    i have few friends and they are all genuine friends, i dont want 5000 friends on the web when i dont know them!

    Those who says that it's to make people think before they flame on the web: c'mon.. get real.. that will still happen!! and that's NOT why google wants everyone on g+..
    They just want more user! more users=more $..