As I’ve already discussed extensively in the past, online reviews can be quite tricky. Sadly, it’s not always easy to distinguish between honest reviews and fake ones created solely for the purpose of manipulatively bloating/diminishing product’s reputation. That makes users also to be incredulous about the reviews platform itself.
I’m sure that the folks at Google’s app store, Google Play, have noticed this disturbing phenomenon as well because now, they’ve decided to eradicate it (or at least minimize it). As from this point in time onwards, only Google+ users will be capable of writing app reviews on Google Play. This is the message you’ll see the first time you’ll try to leave a review:
With this move, Google basically eliminates the possibility of an anonymous review as each one can be traced back to the original writer. Even though there are obviously methods to bypass this system too and leave fake feedback (as some have already deceitfully done), it still makes it a lot more difficult and would surely deter those who seek to mislead.
The downside of transiting into Google+ profile-based reviews is that it could also discourage users who prefer to express their thoughts anonymously. I assume this was heavily considered and eventually decided that for greater qualitative feedback in general it worth the transition, even if it means less reviews will be published in overall.
Additionally, the deeper integration of Google+ into the Android app store would obviously bolster the social network. Just in the third quarter of 2012 more than 122 million Android devices have been sold worldwide, grasping over 72% market share according to the research company Gartner. All those accumulative hundreds of millions of Android users now have one more reason to join Google+.
This is the latest implementation of Google+ into the Google’s products and service after last week it enabled users a deeper connection of the social service with YouTube. Google definitely sees social as an integral experience across all of its products and the company intends it would be their own social networking service, not other’s.
I’m actually quite happy from this move. In spite of the almost certain reduction in total reviews count of Android apps, I believe it would eventually add more credibility and build trust in Google Play as users would find more sincere worthy reviews.