13
May
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If you've spent as much time on the Google Play Store as I have, you begin to recognize a pattern: developers asking (and sometimes begging) users to email them directly with complaints or bugs, because they can't reply to that snarky review left in lieu of a bug report. After years and years of frustration for devs who just want to make their apps better, Google has finally rolled out a direct reply feature. Developers, you can now reply to user reviews using your developer console.

reply-reviews

This has been a long time coming. A number of developers had been included in the testing program for the better part of a year, and rumors of a wide rollout have been circulating for a while. (Previously the feature had been reserved for Top Developers.) But the testing phase is over, and thousands of developers can now communicate directly with their users and customers. Everybody please remember to keep it civil out there - developer responses, like user reviews, are subject to the Google Play posting guidelines.

When a developer replies to a regular user, the reply is visible to everyone, and an email alert is sent to that user specifically. Like the user reviews themselves, developer responses can be edited after posting, with the latest edit noted above the text. Hopefully this will foster both good will between devs and end users, and help stomp out bugs and implement new features.

Android Developers Blog - All Google Play Developers Can Now Reply to User Reviews

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.
  • hyperbolic

    It's about time, same as eBay.

  • Floss

    This rolled out to me a few weeks ago. So far it has been pretty awesome because before it was just a one way street with no possibility for saying hey I need more information. Now I can reply directly with timelines of how long it will probably take to do it, or a reason why I won't be doing something, etc...And of course it's great to be able to post a rebuttal to the trolls who clearly don't have even the slightest clue of how the app is supposed to work or what it is supposed to do. You all know the people I'm talking about.

  • wickets

    yayyyyyyyyyyyyyy.....cant wait to see the dev response on apps like outlook!!!

    • Matthew Fry

      Just because they CAN respond. Doesn't mean they WILL. Anyway, Microsoft is probably a top developer so they had this already.

  • QwietStorm

    How come you guys don't have some form of an Android Police app?

    • http://www.facebook.com/YAYSAVERGN Eric James Salcido

      The mobile site defeats the purpose I would say. Not to mention apps like Pocket that will let you save the webpage for later reading. Or even the stock JB browser.

      • Freak4Dell

        Agreed. Not everything needs an app. AP can already be accessed just fine through the browser and Currents.

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

      We do but I am not satisfied with it in its current form and see no benefit compared to RSS readers.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

        As someone who's a control freak about anything I'm involved in, I can certainly understand your hesitance to release an app that isn't up to your personal standards. That being said, I would love to have an Android Police app sitting on one of my homescreens. Even if was just the mobile site.

      • Matthew Fry

        Yeah. Press + AP is a fine solution for me and since Disqus runs astonishingly well in a mobile browser, I can even comment too. No need for an AP app in my mind.

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

          Disqus is even working on a next-gen mobile UI right now, they've enabled it for some accounts (it still sucks big time, but I see potential).

          • mrsbelpit

            I thought I hated Disqus until I experienced Livefyre. Please, please, please keep Disqus.

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

            Oh, yeah, I test drove Livefyre after almost giving up on Disqus back before AP switched to a JS comment system, and it was so far behind, it's not even funny. Still is. Very-very behind.

          • Floss

            It was actually pretty hilarious watching Engadget's switch. Everyone went from Disqus sucks! in every thread to, please Disqus, come back! Then again it also completely killed all commenting on that site so in the end not that funny :(

          • Justin Swanson

            Heh, I rarely leave comments on sites that don't have Disqus...

  • fjdkfjfkskf

    I'm certainly not one of the Top Developers but I've had this for ages. Maybe they were doing a staggered rollout.

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

      They were. We were getting tips about this like every month, and it was always a false positive because there was always some dev who didn't have the ability yet. Until now.

  • troph

    Long overdue

  • DaKiLund

    Very nice, but I dont review anything on google service since they force me to show my G+ (real name, with link to my profile) All my close friends have stoped doing this aswell. If someone knows of a way to anomouslly review an app (whithout creating a separate user) please tell me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

      While I agree you should be able to comment on things anonymously in order to avoid fear of retribution (think third world countries where they arrest you for certain speech), I do wonder why this is an issue for app reviews. Like a lot of people, I can't help but wonder if you really just want to be able to shit all over others' hard work without being called out.

    • Mike Reid

      Sorry, but as a dev, I very much prefer that completely anonymous reviews not be posted. If that makes scores go up (or down, I don't care), at least it's fair as they go up (or down) for all apps.

      We're not talking here about people discussing a repressive regime, where anonymity can clearly be for good.

      Is there some worry that devs will come after you for "revenge" ? I think any such problem would be VERY tiny compared with the silly things app users say when anonymous. And some of those "users" are app competitors. Or crazy cases such as bad reviews to keep magician apps more "secret".

      And then there are the app devs with fake positive reviews...

      If this all means that my app would only have 500 reviews, instead of 1000, well 500 is more than enough for me or the potential users of my app.

      • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

        Totally agree with you. When users have veil of anonymity, you get reviews like "this app sucks" and other profanity. Link comments with actual user profiles, those useless and troll comments go down a lot.

    • Matthew Fry

      While I don't like the G+ integration, I think real names always make things more civil. I see no real downside. ( just don't review the porn apps you download :-P )

  • plaisthos

    Finally I can insult all users giving me less than 5 stars! Just kidding, I don't have people giving me less than 5 stars.

    Seriously when I looked through my 1 star comments again, most of them were more less clueless like "Why this no work. Bad bad!" where I don't even bother to reply.

    • umataro42

      Those are the ones I wish other users could reply to, because I'd like to be able to point out how clueless or stupid they're being.

      • Björn Lundén

        I agree. I feel the urge to do the same sometimes.

        • http://twitter.com/Gnabergasher Gabernasher

          Would make the Play store section of G+ a lot more entertaining, they could just integrate the two.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rmkattan Rami Kattan

        I agree, the first day I found that I can reply to the comments (about 2 months ago) I replied to all those stupid comments from users who don't read or just want my apps to be rated badly... a couple changed there vote after my comments..

  • http://twitter.com/shamus_carter james kendall

    woot woot took them long enough.

  • http://www.studio8apps.com/ Agris Ausējs

    I'm not in Top Developer list, but I've had this feature for at least more than month. Overall very useful feature.

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    Now if only there was an easy way to be notified when someone leaves a review comment on my apps. Currently I have to go through my dev console everyday and try to remember whether the "number of ratings" went up since yesterday or not. I have 60+ apps, so imagine the pain.

    • http://www.facebook.com/GzFighter Gabriel Castro

      Try the "andlytics" app. It's open source and gives you all the information from the console, with a setting to periodical check for changes (it will give notifications for new comments)

      • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

        Thanks for this. Downloaded it. But sadly it is saying "No published apps found". (Yes, I connected it to correct account, gave it permission when it asked for and I do publish all my apps from that id). Sending a mail to the dev.

  • SxperiaS

    Wish Google Store allowed seeing comments in another language i am forced into seeing pointless reviews....

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