Google has made significant changes to the Play Store and now, apps that do not perform well will get downranked. The search giant has been taking a lot of efforts to ramp up the quality of apps with consistently low ratings are dealt with severely. There are multiple parameters employed to gauge the effectiveness of apps on the Play Store and checking user reviews is just one of the ways. Google is now serious about ranking apps and will simply push the apps that don’t meet its parameters towards the bottom.
Google recently said that the company is now pushing or boosting only quality apps to the front. For the user, it means that the apps with lesser crashes and lags always pop to the front when doing a generic search. Say, for example, the user is searching for a “notepad app”, only the apps with high ratings, consistent performance, and no crashes or lags will be shown on top whereas those with poor performance reports will be pushed to the bottom. This will help maintain and improve the quality of user experience over a period of time. ALSO READ: Google is using AI and machine learning to identify malware apps on the Play Store
According to Google the apps are monitored based on the following paramaters – user ratings, the number of uninstalls the user has done as well as app crashes. The search giant has also said that Google is “incorporating app quality signals in our ranking algorithms”. The main reason for the change is that apps that are consistently low-ranking or those that come with a host of problems do not make users happy. When presented with such apps in the beginning, it impacts the Android experience negatively. Google is trying to keep users away from negative experiences by offering only the best of the apps through the Play Store. ALSO READ: Google Play Store v8.0 makes it easier to see what’s new in an app update
The curating of the apps is not done through reviews alone. Google has slowly been relying heavily on machine learning or AI to determine the quality of the apps. Not just judge apps, Google also has the Android Excellence Program and awards which it hands out to top app performers at the end of the year, pushing other apps to follow suit and stay updated. While reviews do form a part of the complete assessment, Google does not rely on reviews alone. It is a combination of human judgment in the form of reviews and AI learnings that help rank the app higher or lower. ALSO READ: Indians are spending 3X more on Google Play Store now: Report
Google has already started testing out this program and the changes have been rolled out to a select set of users. The users are not informed of the change but right in the beta stage, Google has seen a difference in the way high ranking apps affect user experience. The changes will slowly be rolled out to other users in phases. The apps that are consistently ranked higher and constantly updated to include user as well as AI inputs.
Google has also cited examples of how certain apps have managed to improve ratings and visibility by making simple changes and performance improvements. Andrew Ahn, Product Manager, Google Play says in a blog, “Google Play strives to help people find and discover safe, high quality, useful, and relevant apps. By focusing on the quality and performance of your app, you’ll find more success on Google Play.”