Google’s going to start burying low-quality Android apps

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The Google Play Store (and to a lesser degree, Apple’s App store) is awash with low-quality, half-arsed apps that either don’t work as advertised, run like they’re wading through molasses or drain your battery so fast that they create miniature black holes in your pocket.

Google finally wants to do something about that. Google’s taken many steps to ensure that malicious or spammy aps have been kept to a minimum, but they’re now going to focus their efforts on zapping poorly made, low-quality ones. By burying them.

Apps with unbearably poor performance will now be downranked within the store, with Google’s algorithms automatically making apps with low quality signals show up further down lists.

“We’ve recently started incorporating app quality signals in our ranking algorithms,” Google Play Product Manager Andrew Ahn said in a blog post. “Higher quality apps are being surfaced in the Play Store more than the similar apps that are lower quality (e.g. if they exhibit more frequent crashes).”

The reason? People engage more with better apps – which seems obvious when put that way.

“We’ve seen that people installing higher quality apps go on to use the apps more and uninstall them less,” he wrote.

When people use apps that don’t meet their expectations, they tend to uninstall them, so the move gives developers a bit of impetus to make sure that their apps are well coded.

“People enjoy using apps and games which meet their quality and performance expectations,” he wrote. “Excessive battery usage, slow render times, and crashes, on the other hand, can be a source of frustration. Developers who focus on performance can see improvements in their rating, and ultimately their retention and monetization.”

To enable developers to see exactly what’s causing their apps to run poorly, Google has released analysis tools called Android Vitals.

“Android vitals helps identify opportunities to improve your app’s performance. The dashboards are useful for engineers and business owners alike, offering quick reference performance metrics to monitor your app so you can analyze the data and dedicate the right resources to make improvements.”

Last Updated: August 4, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Just me thinking this is obvious and wondering why they were never doing it? Apps should always be ordered from best to worst IMO

    • BakedBagel

      You would think that app quality would be the number 1 aspect they would focus on.

  • Finally that Facebook app will be off my phone and not just return to the install list when I delete it.

    o/

    • Hammersteyn

      XD

  • Hammersteyn

    One thing I never understand is how crappy mobile games has ratings of 4 stars or higher.

  • Original Heretic

    I have this image in my head of Google leading a low quality app out to the desert. With a gun to its head, it digs its own grave.
    It doesn’t hear the fatal gunshot, it doesn’t feel the bullet enter its digital brain or the impact it makes as its pseudo-body hits the dirt at the bottom of the pit.

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