Steve Yegge was right: you guys at Google really don’t understand platform.
by Philipp Berner, KeepSafe co-founder and CTO
I was pushing a new update to our app, KeepSafe into the Google Play App Store this Tuesday (Nov. 27th), and something caught my eye. The reviews looked different. After looking in to this, I was able to figure out that App reviews in Google Play are now linked to Google Plus.
After a couple of hours I read the first news that google now made linking Google Plus into app reviews mandatory. That sounds messed up, I thought.
So I tried posting a review for an app that I haven’t rated yet. I was shocked. There is no way to post a review without having a Google Plus account.
Is anyone ever going to leave a review again? Because I’m probably not.
Look at the crappy user flow on this:
When you hit cancel, it does not just cancel the “account linking process”, it cancels the entire app review attempt. EPIC FAIL.
I was amazed to see that it gets even worse! There’s an authorization process with the existing Google Plus app that on my phone where I’m also already logged in. The signup process doesn’t bother to ask if one of the existing Google accounts on this phone is also my Plus account. Typing on a mobile devices sucks, so what are you thinking making every one of our KeepSafe users type their credentials onto their device when they just want to leave a review.
This is more of an epic fail than Apple trying to add “Ping” to iTunes. At least that failure tried to add FaceBook as a feature to iTunes instead of trying to prop up a failing social network by strapping it to the side of your App Store. The fact that it’s mandatory is irksome.
After 4 days of this new roll out, I still see reviews on our app from people with the name “Google user”. Users that left a review before the update. I assume that the Google Play update is not rolled out completely to all android users.
KeepSafe is lucky to already have over 300k ratings with a 5 star average on Google Play. My guess is, that this is going to be very hard for new apps to get there in the future.
Mark Zuckerberg once famously said – “Google Plus is the fastest growing social network that no one is using”. Looking on the first profiles of the people who left a review, I have to agree.
Google, you have let internal politics screw around with your user experience. This is something you would never see from Apple or any self-respecting company. Dragging Google Play down with Plus is an Epic Fail Whale.
Leaving reviews on apps is a core function of an app store. It drives the ecosystem and tells users which apps they can trust. Making Google Plus mandatory is a pretty hard barrier to enter the review system that has no purpose. It doesn’t even benefit Google, since the user experience is so horrible. It just makes people hate Google Plus even more than they already do. It screws with the person who writes the review, the people who read reviews, and App Developers.
Please make Google Plus accounts for leaving app reviews optional.
If you argee on this please leave your email address so we can let the Google team know that this was not a good idea.