Google appears to be attempting to simplify the methods used to offer rating and feedback to apps. The new method found hidden within the latest beta build of the official Google Play Store APK reveals the interesting changes in the methodology. If Google retains the changes in the final stable release of the Play Store app, then users could leave the feedback from within the app being used. While this simplified method could significantly improve the number of reviews and feedback, there could be attempts to misuse the feature to artificially boost the number of positive reviews and five-star ratings.

Google Play Store, the official repository of millions of apps that work on the Android operating system, has undergone several changes. However, the search giant and maker of the most widely used smartphone OS has yet to develop the most ideal method of offering reviews and feedback to apps. While the current method works, users have to leave the app and head on over to the app’s official page on Play Store to leave a rating. Moreover, the process involves multiple steps and requires quite a few taps before the user can start typing the comment, view, review, feedback or even question.

Several apps offered through the Google Play Store, even the most popular ones, have been known to pester and coerce users to leave positive feedback. While the choice of wordings may differ, each of the apps wants users to leave a five-star rating. If that’s not enough, the apps tend to repeatedly request the user, which can get annoying. The request to leave a positive review and a five-star rating often present itself through a pop-up banner. While ratings are critical not just to be known, they are also important for ensuring adoption, perhaps even survival, of the app on the Play Store, and the developer’s revenue. Strangely, several apps even ask for a positive rating and feedback even if the user has offered them earlier. To address these concerns and simplify the process, Google appears to be developing a new technique.

APK Teardown Of Official Play Store Latest Beta Build Version Reveals New Way Of Leaving Feedback For App:

Ratings affect the apps’ ranking on the Play Store. Besides the number of downloads, active users, quality, and other factors, the simplest and most effective way to boost adoption and ranking in the Google’s Android Play Store, is to ensure the majority of users leave a good, and a preferably five-star rating. To get most of its users to leave a good rating, app developers build multiple reminders within their creations that routinely popup during usage. The reminders may be non-intrusive, but they are rather a crude reminder that may hinder the experience.

Android app users seem to avoid dropping reviews, feedback and a good rating primarily because the rating system forces one to navigate away from the app into the Play Store. This limitation within the feedback system might not be a major inconvenience, but it is certainly annoying. Many developers even attempt to trick users into clicking the feedback system causing the app users to suddenly leave the app ecosystem. Finding themselves suddenly being dropped into the app’s listing on the Google Play Store is a confusing and annoying phenomenon that happens quite often.

Google Play Store will now crack down on fake app reviews and ratings

— Express Technology (@ExpressTechie) November 30, 2016

To address the concerns of app developers who need a good rating, and those of the app users who would strictly prefer to stay within the app’s ecosystem for the entirety of the usage, Google is attempting to change how the feedback system operates. According to a teardown conducted by XDA Developers, Google wants to ensure app users can offer a rating and leave a comment, feedback or review, without leaving the app.

The teardown was performed on APK version 15.9.21 of the Play Store app. Needless to mention, this is a beta build. Google is sending out the version 15.9.21 to users who have enrolled for the Play Store beta program. While using the beta build, the XDA members discovered an activity which suggests that a user will be allowed to rate an app without leaving the same. Incidentally, since the feature was lying within the beta build of the Play Store app, it may nor may not make into the future stable build or release.

Why Is Google Attempting To change The Feedback And Rating System For Android Play Store?

The current iteration of the feedback system is quite simple. Any app downloaded from the Google Play Store records the download and authenticates the user to submit a rating, and write feedback, comment or a short review. After the app user is authenticated, the app ecosystem can show a reminder urging users to drop a good rating. The current system may seem a little lengthy, but it works. On several occasions, users have used the commenting and feedback system to suggest or request feature or improvements. On the other end, app developers have significantly boosted their reputations and credibility by monitoring the feedback system, accepting requests, and offering updates with new features.

While the current feedback system works, several app developers routinely attempt to exploit the same to gain a five-star rating. In the past, some app developers have even attempted to scam people into submitting five-star ratings. These developers have even tried to bribe the users. Some of the low-quality apps even promised free stuff in return for a five-star rating.

Aggressive adware, 5M+ downloads, fake reviews.. in @GooglePlay. The store also suggests similar apps with millions of downloads.

— Nikolaos Chrysaidos (@virqdroid) May 20, 2019

It is interesting to note that Google may have designed and implemented the current method of leaving rating and feedback to ensure app developers do not abuse the system. In other words, the current method separates the app and the feedback mechanism. In fact, there is no way for the app to actually verify if the particular user has left a good, bad or neutral rating. Still, several app users are completely oblivious to the fact and have fallen prey to the scam mentioned above.

The New In-App Feedback System Could Be Misused In Earlier Versions Of Android?

With the new in-app system, Google is attempting to simplify the feedback and rating method. Moreover, the method could help more users offer a rating since they will no longer be uncomfortable about leaving the app and heading to its listing on Google Play Store. However, there are a few chances wherein some app developers might misuse the new system. After all, developers might use the feature to generate fake reviews simply when a user isn’t looking.

Incidentally, the latest significant Android update, the Android Q, has specific safeguards built-in to prevent such activities. This might mean that older Android versions could be exploited. However, Google may choose to deploy the new Play Store only on devices running Android Q. The search giant could also test it out in a future build of the Android Q beta.

The menace of auto-generated reviews could severely impact the app rating system as developers could flood the Play Store with bogus or fake reviews praising their creations. They could even rely on bots to generate fake reviews. Hence, Google will have to implement some system to detect auto-generated reviews on an app’s Play Store listing. The company could also deploy a re-authenticating or re-verification step to ensure only a genuine user has submitted the rating and feedback.