Android fans know that the Play Store’s app description are sometimes a bit dubious. Full of people you don’t know saying all kinds of wonderful things about the app, the goal is downloads. For Developers, testimonials proved a handy way to let customers sell their app for them. Google is now asking that those testimonials stay where they belong — the reviews section. In a recent change to Android Developer guidelines, Google is telling Developers to take testimonials out, or risk having their app pulled.
Here’s the change in terms, from the Android Developers portal:
Please do not include user testimonials in your app description. They tend to be dubious and are frequently utilized to include references to popular search terms and competitor apps in violation of the policies outlined here. Let your users speak for themselves via Play’s comment review system.
Those comments arrive to app descriptions via various means. Sometimes they are reviews, and sometimes it’s feedback that’s popped up in beta testing. Sometimes it’s just friends who offer up praise.
It doesn’t matter where the testimonials came from, it only matters that Google (rightly) feels they offer little to potential users. Android Developers will now have to tell us in some detail why their apps are awesome rather than rely on vague statement from fans.
It’s the latest move by Google to take control of Android and the Play Store, but certainly not the last. They’ve previously pulled a malware-blocking app for violating their terms, and sidelined apps that were pirating content.
The most interesting angle here is Search, where Google gently accuses Developers of gaming their bread-and-butter to draw attention to their app. Keywords and phrases are discouraged, as are references to other apps.