Your device’s quirks could make your reviews more relevant.
Google made Monday changes to the way it calculates and displays app ratings on Play Store. This could make them more relevant for developers and users (via 9to5Google). Google will no longer give one rating for an app. App ratings can be in many forms and levels of relative good depending on the device. Instead, Google will break down the ratings with specific ratings for each country and the form factor that you use to browse the Play Store.
This change may be beneficial for several reasons. First, not every app offers the same features or functionality everywhere because of national laws and one universal law — Android fragmentation. If I am a developer and I sell a messaging app on the Play Store, I don’t want my ratings ruined because the payment feature that I offer is only available in one country. Another reason is that some apps are not compatible with larger tablets or foldable forms. Google’s had issues with anything larger than a phone, so specific ratings for alternative form factors mean you can be warned when you’re downloading something for your Android tablet that might not work as well as you remember it working on your phone.
APPS ARE WORKING BETTER ON DEVICES OTHER THE PHONES.
Google will roll out country-specific ratings for Android Auto in November and form factor-specific ratings for Android Auto in 2022. This applies to tablets, foldable (for Chrome OS, Wear OS, or Android Auto), and country-specific ratings. Developers will be notified ahead of the changes if Google’s new rating system changes their app’s rating.
We’ll analyze your app’s potential changes in Play Store at least ten weeks in advance and reach out to developers who see more than 0.2 stars for any device type in any key market (one that has greater than five percent of your store listing users). If you need to make significant changes to your app, this will allow you to plan.
Both of these changes are beneficial, but especially the considerations regarding the new device form factor. Foldables such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 are growing in popularity, but not all apps have adapted to them (example: Instagram). You’ll have a stronger incentive to use the app on these devices or risk losing a rating.
Google announced that it would be surfacing additional Play Store data and metrics to developers. This includes device type insights, which break down ratings based upon the device using the app. You can check Google’s blog for all of the other changes.