Jun 21 AT 12:58 PM Sean Riley 29 Comments

Developers can now respond to your comments in Google Play


Checking the overall rating and reading through recent feedback on an app or game in Google Play can be a great way to get a feel for what to expect from it.

This is all the more critical for paid apps, as 15 minutes isn’t really enough time to get a solid impression of an app. This leaves you dependent on what those that have gone before you have to say and user comments are one of the best sources of information since you can usually find someone that uses your specific device.

Well until now those comments were a one way system with users complaints, questions or compliments available for the developers to read, but unable to respond publicly unless they work it into the app description. Starting today, developers with a Top Developer badge will be able to respond inline to user comments and assuming this goes well the feature will be rolled out to more developers going forward.

When the developer does reply to a comment it will automatically send an email notifying the commenter and from there they can either get in touch with the developer directly or amend their review if they feel that is appropriate.

Here’s a sample of what the new feature will look like in the developer console.

Google Play Developer Console with comment replies

I’d love to hear from both sides on this. Do you developers appreciate the ability to respond to feedback (be it good or bad) in public or does that not seem productive to you? And for users will this maybe make you more cautious about what you post in a comment on an app knowing that you may actually get a direct response?

Source: Android Developers Blog

Sean has been with Android and Me for over 5 years and covering mobile for the last 6. He occasionally muses about gadgets and tech outside of the Android universe at Techgasms.

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  • Stigy

    I cannot wait until they roll this feature out to all developers.

    I would love a way to reply to all comments to try to fix the problems people are having or try to get more information from them.

    Big thumbs up to Google on this one.

    • dcds

      And yet, 6 months later, I’m still waiting to give Google my thumbs up.

      Troll comments, people who give 1 star just because a free app has _some_ paid features, people who give 1 star because the app suffered one, _specific_ crash… and nevermind if I published a correction in the very same day because the 1 star rating is still there.

      Haters gonna hate, yes. Unfortunately, in Play Store, we can’t clarify issues falsely advertised (or otherwise not applicable anymore) by haters.

      What are they afraid of? Developers bashing customers? Well, that always happened in brick-and-mortar stores, and customers have always dealt with them accordingly.

  • Thomas Biard

    This is a huge plus in my opinion. Haters gonna hate, so Google is letting rebuttals rebutt! I look forward to reading developers’ responses to trolls or commenters that are truly having issues. Google FTW

  • Rohan

    This is a great feature! But in the long run, won’t it encourage people to post their complains and questions in the review section, when they should be emailing the devs instead?

    • http://www.technogasms.com Sean Riley

      I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, chances are if one person has a complaint or problem others have it as well and this will get a public versus private dialogue which should in theory lead to the developer not having to address the question many times over privately.

      • reddragonman

        I think it’s better to have it in the review section, cause then users will be able to tell when a dev is actually working on a problem, and shows how quick devs respond to problems. Especially when talking about paid apps, you want to know that a dev is quick to address problems.

        • dreamdoggy22

          Are you (reddragonman) saying it is better to post problems in review section RATHER THAN emailing the developer, or that it is good to have both?

          • Max.Steel

            For example the app doesn’t even work and someone just posts a review saying “doesn’t work”. Would you prefer that or this: “doesn’t work” and there’s a dev reply saying “I see you’re using a Samsung Fascinate. Go to the settings and turn on such and such and it should work for you”? Hmmm??

          • reddragonman

            I’d say it’s good to have both. The public setting is a nice way to show that the dev is working on a problem, but obviously may not be able to give all the details in the review post, so in a case like that, an email would be a good additional way of explaining in detail what the problem is. It is frustrating looking at an app that has multiple reviews with the same problem, and having no idea if the dev is working on it or not. It does influence my decision to get an app or not.

    • Mike

      As opposed to what they do now? Which is post their complaints to the review section instead of emailing the devs. I have probably received enough support emails to count on one hand, and so many more negative reviews.

      I can’t help users if they don’t email me. Not every error is easily reproducible by the developer and having a dialog with a user would go along way towards addressing the problem. I don’t intentionally put errors in my apps, but many users act as if I do.

    • dreamdoggy22

      Good point.

  • yankeesusa

    I see this as a good thing. I see so many comments that either have nothing to do with the app or are completely out of context, like won’t work on my htc hero when the app was meant for a higher end device. This is good all the way around.

    • dreamdoggy22

      I agree. The review section is full of complaints made by people with no understanding of how the app should work or worse, how Android works. For example–”can we please move this to SD card” when Android won’t support that kind of app on SD. It drives me nuts to read those.

  • epps720

    This is great way for developers to be able to reply to all the trollers idiotic remarks

  • mipd1980

    Cant wait to see the responses from the Devs….I like to email them and when they have helped or fixed the issue I make sure I give them a good review. Than There are the devs that dont reply to emails or fix their apps. Than I make sure that this is also reflected on my review of the app not in a bad way but just so that other people know not to expect much from the dev. Android Rules…

  • Nathan D.

    This is great , now they can both talk to each other to figure out what is wrong with the app or help to improve it either way this is a great plus from Google.

  • skyflakes

    Great news. This is actually more important for the newer apps in the market, those which are not yet established or well known. So I hope Google rolls it out to every developer very soon.

  • jamal adam

    Communication between developers and customers is key to the success and improvement of any app. I like where Google is heading with this update and the changes to the developer page.

  • dVyper

    There are so many clueless customers – this feature is well needed!

  • hurric

    very nice feature indeed and very long overdue since people are using it as a discussion anyways now.

  • Simon

    I say hurry up and make it available to all, because I am tired of getting “great app!” and “doesn’t work at all!” comments intermixed with NO WAY to contact the “doesn’t work at all!” folks to find out what’s different about their setup so I have some chance of helping them. The article above says “until now [developers were] unable to respond publicly” which kind of understates the problem. Until this feature is rolled out, developers have NO WAY to contact or follow up with people who leave their trouble report as a comment. Please fix this yesterday, thanks!

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  • Sameer

    This seems nice but it will not going to help either user or developer.User post problem that one’s facing problem due to one’s hardware support then posting problem is enough.Developer knows problem if he can solve then he will post revised version of application.

    I have write on post on challenge for android developer http://androidtrainningcenter.blogspot.in/2012/06/challenges-against-android-application.html

  • Michael Essany

    Direct feedback to developers and the facilitation of a two-way conversation can be hugely constructive for individual developers and the mobile app ecosystem at large. Look what mobile advertisers have learned based on intensive research and user feedback – http://www.airpush.com/blog/redesigning-messaging-relevance-how-we-grew-to-2/ This is something to be very excited about!

  • Jarpis

    This would be an awesome feature ! You have the ability to listen and react to the people who are not satisfied with the app. Customer and developer can help each other !

  • Trey Smith

    We REALLY need these feature added soon, please! Like other devs, my app has some undeserved 1 star reviews, and it just kills me knowing the app works if they’d let me help them!

    • opiatefuchs

      oh yeah, we need it. the problem now is, since google bind the rating comments with google plus, the comments are less than before. I just started the business with selling apps, I get a one star rating, but I know my app is working. I write an email to this guy who rated so badly and want to give me a chance to fix the error if there is one. alternatively, I offered him to get his money back…but he doesn´t react to this email. So now, my only rating is a one star rating and I can´t do anything against this, Other Users don´t want to download the app if they see one star rating. What can we do against these poeple, I mean, if the bad ratings were justified, ok I can live with this, but a bad rating without a cause is unacceptable

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