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Google Play bans 'independent' user reviews from apps

Google Play wants to make it easier for customers to find the best quality apps out there by taking a sledgehammer to the “independent” user reviews that have thus far been a mainstay of app descriptions.

The company has altered the Google Play Store terms and conditions issued to app developers so that they are not permitted to include testimonials from users in the app description’s wording.

"Please do not include user testimonials in your app description," says the refreshed ‘spam' section of the guidelines, according to The Inquirer. "They tend to be dubious and are frequently utilised 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."

One of the main reasons that Google has made the move is due to the fact it’s neigh-on impossible to work out whether the testimonials are given by genuine people or an attempt by the company itself to puff up the app’s reputation. The other problem with the user “reviews” included in the app description is the complete absence of negative ones in favour of positivity.

Google’s changes will have no effect on the way users leave comments for apps and even though they will remain at the foot of the app page, more users are likely to seek them out in order to gain an insight on how good the app is.

Apple’s App Store, which is Google Play’s main rival in the app stakes, doesn’t include the user testimonials in its app descriptions with independent user reviews the only way to find out what others think of the app in question.

Google Play remains the market leader when it comes to the volume of apps downloaded, however, Apple is way out in front in terms of the revenue it garners from its App Store.

Jamie Hinks

Jamie is a freelance writer with over eight years experience writing for online audiences about technology and other topics. In his time writing for ITProPortal he wrote daily news stories covering the IT industry and the worldwide technology market, as well as features that covered every part of the IT market, from the latest start ups to multinational companies and everything encompassed by the IT sector. He has also written tech content for our sister publication, TechRadar Pro. Jamie has since moved into sports betting content and is Content Manager at Betbull.