9 May, 2019

Google Play tweaks how ratings work, announces cash payments for purchasing apps

Google I/O 2019 is in full swing and the company made a slew of announcements during the keynote and on the next day as well. One of the announcements from the event is about how Google Play will be changing a couple of things. TechCrunch reports that Google Play Store policies are being changed to better reflect app ratings. Till now, app ratings were a cumulative representation of how well an app performed over the years. However, this is being changed so that the recent releases of the app ratings are favoured. Another notable announcement for the Play Store from Google is the ability to purchase apps with a new delayed form of payment options like cash.

“You told us you wanted a rating based on what your app is today, not what it was years ago, and we agree,” says Milena Nikolic, an engineering director leading Google Play Console. Explaining more about how the new rating system would work, Nikolic says that the average rating calculation for apps will soon be updated for all Android apps on Google Play and instead of displaying ratings based on lifetime cumulative values, more weight would be given to the most recent users’ ratings. The new rating system makes more sense as many apps start out great but go off the track with subsequent updates. The new ratings won’t be shown to consumers till August but app developers can preview the new system today via the Play Store Console. 

Coming to the new form of payment option, while there are multiple payment options to choose from when buying an app on the Play Store, Google is aiming at emerging markets with the new “pending transactions” option. The new feature will enable users to pay via traditional methods that don’t require online transactions. “We know that emerging markets are a key area of growth for you all, which is why we’re excited to announce ‘pending transactions,’” announced Aurash Mahbod, Director of Engineering at Google, while speaking at Google I/O. 

This new feature enables users to select an alternative method of payment and receive a payment code. They can then show this code to a nearby store and pay for the app they purchase. Google says within 10 minutes, users will receive their purchase and an email with their proof of payment but TechCrunch notes that the process can take up to 48 hours to get through. This would certainly make it easier for some users to pay for apps but in case they want to get a refund, they will receive Play Store credit. The feature is currently available in early access and it remains to be seen whether it will be announced for India as well. 

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