Google just made its Play Store apps a little better

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Just this past weekend I went to the Google Play Store to download a better clock and alarm app (don’t ask) and was overwhelmed by the options. Who knew there were so many different ways to view a clock on your smartphone? As a consumer, the Play Store is daunting. For an entrepreneur that develops apps, it must be frustrating too. Imagine that your product is truly better and more reliable than all the rest, but it’s so far down in the list that hardly anyone finds it.

There’s good news for both users and app developers. Google is changing that.

In a blog posted last week, the company announced a new search algorithm for apps available on the Google Play Store. The better apps will be ranked higher. What’s a “better” app? According to Google, it’s those apps that simply crash less, load faster and use less battery power. How will the company determine this? By monitoring the number of uninstalls requested by users as well as poor reviews. The company says that half of its one-star reviews identified the same issues mentioned above.

The need for this change is obvious. With almost 3 million apps available on the Play Store, Google needed some way to help consumers find the better performing ones as well as benefit its developers that make a higher quality product. In other moves to improve app quality, the company is pushing its developers to use their tools–like a newly published “practices guide” and a Play Console Dashboard released last month–to help identify performance or other problems with apps before they hit the store.

The company has been testing the algorithm tweak with good results. “The change has had a positive impact on engagement – we’ve seen that people go on to use higher quality apps more and uninstall them less,” Google said in its blog post.

The move should not only make the experience better for consumers like me, but also help those entrepreneurs making great apps to increase their sales.


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