Google Play update lets Android developers respond to user reviews

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A new Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play digital storefront update enables Android application developers to respond to both positive and negative consumer reviews of their work.

The revamped Google Play Android Developer Console now includes a text entry box enabling developers to post public responses to user-submitted reviews. Developers can leverage the tool to respond to positive feedback, defend against critiques or update consumers on changes and improvements. In theory, developers can also interact consumers to help identify software bugs or solicit ideas for future improvements and enhancements.

Google is initially rolling out the feature to partners who've earned its Top Developer Badge--i.e., developers who've released Android apps of consistently high quality. Not all developers are enthused by the prospect: "I think it's bad because devs will be engaged in arguing, banter, etc.," Think Big Group Director Myles Kaye told Know Your Mobile. "Plus customers will end up using it for support questions, which is definitely not good."

The new review response mechanism is the latest move in Google's ongoing effort to improve the Play marketplace, which has consistently struggled to drive developer enthusiasm and profits on par with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store. Last month, Google added in-app subscription support, giving Android developers a new channel to monetize their applications, games and multimedia content. Google first launched in-app purchase capabilities on Google Play (then Android Market) in March 2011, with support for options like try-before you-buy, virtual goods and upgrades: 23 of the store's 24 top-grossing apps now incorporate in-app billing capabilities.

Google Play now boasts about 500,000 Android apps in all. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Vice President of Mobile Andy Rubin, the architect of the Android operating system, recently revealed that the company now activates more than 900,000 Android devices each day, up from the 850,000 daily activations he announced in late February.

For more:
- read this Know Your Mobile article

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