Google recently made a slight change to its Android Market ratings system for the Web, which brings it more in line with competitors like Apple and Amazon. Now, users browsing for apps from a PC Web browser will see more how many people have given an app a particular star rating, as opposed to just an average of all the ratings an app has received.
This is a minor change, to be sure, but an important one for mobile application developers to take note of, as it will now provide potential customers a better, more in-depth look at an app's user reviews.
Unfortunately, Google has stopped short of a complete ratings makeover with this update, and does not provide a way for a user to jump straight to all the reviews of a particular rating - for example, all the 1-star reviews.
In addition, the new system doesn't offer to filter reviews by application version, a feature whose absence almost seems unfair, considering that Google has practically designed the Market to be a testing ground for iterative app updates. Because apps don't have to go through a review process at Google, developers can quickly update their applications to address bugs users complain about in the reviews section. However, it's hard for potential new users to know if and when those bugs are fixed just by reading the reviews.
This recent change to the ratings system has only made it the Web Market so far, but we expect it (or something similar) will arrive on the smartphone's Market soon.