Google is changing the way it shows ratings and reviews on the Play Store in a bid to make them more personal and insightful. Instead of showing the aggregate rating of an app on the Play Store, Google will show localized ratings specific to your country and device type.
The changes will be rolled out over multiple quarters, thereby giving developers an ample amount of time to adjust to it.
Google Play to Show Country-Specific Ratings and Reviews
In its announcement on the Android Developers blog, Google says that beginning November 2021, it will only show app ratings on mobile from the country the user is in so that they are more relevant to them.
This will ensure that an app receiving negative reviews for a bug that only affects users in one country does not impact its ratings and ranking in other countries. Additionally, it will help surface localized and more relevant Play Store reviews.
An app might be more useful in Western countries than Asian countries, so its reviews and ratings will reflect that post this change. This also means that the Play Store ratings for an app will vary from country to country.
Starting early 2022, Google will show reviews and ratings depending on the device's form factor. This means that if you access the Play Store using an Android tablet, you'll only see the ratings and reviews submitted for the tablet version of the app. Similarly, on Chromebooks, the Play Store will show ratings and reviews submitted by other Chromebook users.
Again, this will help in surfacing more relevant reviews for a user that will help them decide if they should install an app or not. You should always leave reviews on the Google Play Store as it benefits the entire ecosystem.
Google to Help Developers With the Transition
To help make the transition easier for developers, Google will analyze all existing apps on the Play Store 10 weeks before the changes go live. It will inform developers if their app rating would be affected by more than 0.2 stars on any device type in a key market.
The company has also added new features to the Google Play Console, including Device Type dimensions in the ratings page and the ability to filter reviews by device type. Developers can also download rating distributions and average data in CSV format for additional analysis.
A Step in the Right Direction
The Play Store was initially available only for Android smartphones and tablets. Over time, Google has expanded it to Chromebooks and devices with other varying types of form factors.
Thus, this change from Google to only surface ratings and reviews relevant to a user's country and device type is a step in the right direction. It will help offer a more personalized Play Store experience.