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Google gives Android developers the power to respond to Google Play reviews

Android developers can finally give app reviewers a piece of their mind, after Google added the ability for developers to respond to reviews left on the Google Play store.

"There are a lot of great things a developer can do to promote their app, but the best way for your app to take off is" through word of mouth, Google said in a blog post. "That's why it's always been a priority for us to strengthen that conversation between developers and their users."

Going forward, developers will be able to reply to user reviews via the Google Play developer console, and those replies will show up publicly on the app page.

Users are notified via email when a developer responds to their review. They can then reply to that email or update their review if they so choose, though there is no obligation to do so.

Developers were gently urged not to get into a flame war with those who posts negative reviews; Google reminded people to review its posting guidelines to make sure they are "in compliance with Google Play's policies at all times."

It also provided some tips for building better relationships with the users: checking reviews often, watching out for bug reports and reporting back upon solving them, providing technical support if needed, listening to new ideas, and thanking supporters.

Back in November, Google formally tied Google Play reviews to people's Google+ accounts. The search giant said this has led to an increase in trust, accountability, and quality of reviews – mainly because you can't anonymously mouth off to a developer.

At Google I/O, Google released a set of new APIs intended to boost the gaming experience on Android. Google Play Games Services includes a new family of APIs, including cloud save, which will allow developers to sync their games across devices, from game progression to game state.

If you finish a level on your Android phone, pick it up later on the tablet, Hugo Barra, vice president of product management for Android, said during the Google I/O keynote.

Also at I/O 2013, Google said that a version of Google Play for Education is coming this autumn.