You all know there was a new update to the Play Store that came out over the weekend. It took the Play Store from 3.9.17 to 3.10.9. It offered up some little goodies like a translate button, a remove icon to take apps out of your wishlist and a ‘improve recommendations’ button. It offered up a few other things, but nothing significant. Thanks to the tireless work of Ron Amadeo at AndroidPolice though, there are a few hidden things in the APK that are sure to headed out in future updates.

Ron does a fantastic job of digging things out of Google APK updates and finding what is being added but not yet active. His latest discovery could go both ways. It seems like it could be great for those that are deep into Google services, but for general users it could push them further away. Ron discovered a string file that lists a whole bunch of stuff related to Google+ and app reviews. The sting talks about written app reviews being displayed in the Play Store with your Google+ name and Profile picture. Take a quick read –

<string name=”reviews_google_plus_required”>”From now on, reviews you write will be posted publicly using your Google+ name and picture. Your name on previous reviews will appear as “A Google User.””</string>
<string name=”reviews_google_plus_required_backup”>”Google Play is now connected with Google+ to help you find reviews you trust. New reviews will be posted publicly using your Google+ name and picture. Your name on previous reviews will appear as “A Google User.””</string>
<string name=”reviews_join_google_plus”>Join now</string>
<string name=”reviews_join_google_plus_backup”>Join Google+</string>

What we aren’t fully liking is the “reviews_google_plus_required_backup” section. It would appear that once Google implements this new ability, all written reviews will have to be linked to your Google+ account. If you don’t have one, then you will be asked to join and get one going.

This can be a good thing for many reasons. First being it should help eliminate the less than helpful and appropriate comments and reviews. Like “This app sucks.” “Don’t waste your time, this dev is stupid and so is the app.” Along with many more that we all see floating about. If reviews and comments about an app link to someones G+ page, then it should stop a lot of the nonsense comments out of fear of knowing who they are and getting into battles publicly.

On the other side of the coin, this will prompt more people to get a Google+ account that may not want or need one. Why they wouldn’t is not up to us to decide, but if Google forces G+ on people to leave comments and reviews on apps, I fear it will turn many people away from providing constructive and helpful reviews. Being forced to use Google+ certainly isn’t going to win everybody over.

What is your take on all of this? Will the good out weigh the bad? Check out some of the other little secrets that Ron pulled out of the APK. There are a couple of others that are pretty cool.

Source: AndroidPolice


  • Juande

    It’s great for developers to access the public review en G+ and add a response to that.

  • Steven

    just like you can currently sort reviews by latest, same device, etc .. this could simply be a way to list reviews that are “backed up” with a google+ identity

    this would allow you to ignore those “this app sucks” reviews by those who remain anonymous

    further proof of this is that older reviews would be marked as by “a google user” to show that the review was not anonymous

    • Sebastian

      This is precisely how I imagined they would make use of the new feature. If anything, it would coincide with how reviews are listed in the Chrome Web store. As pointed out above, anonymous users are tagged as ‘A Google User’.

  • FILA

    i dont want a + profile and Google keeps slipping things to try to force you to make one. Christ they already took the regular google reviews away from us, now you need a + account for that and now play store, come on. forget that

    • Alex Cruz

      If you don’t like it…….there’s always the iPhone! I hear Apple does a GREAT job at limiting you :)

  • D Griffin

    This is why I don’t submit restaurant reviews or map edits anymore. Someone with enough patience and time can quickly get an idea of who and where you are as we’ll as your habits. Google privately mining my data doesn’t bother me. Google making it trivial for others to do the same, I have e problem with.

    • Alex Cruz

      So basically you’re alright with submitting the “this app sucks” as long as we don’t know who you are BUT if we know who it came from…… have a problem with it??

      Are you afraid of being called out by bullshit reviews??

      I think is a great idea!! I hope Google starts to add more things like this so all you iPhone users can GTFO and leave us to our business! :)

      • D Griffin

        I have no problem standing behind my words. My problem is with the potential privacy implications that I stated above.

        For the record, my hands are too big for the iPhone.

        • Sebastian

          Unless you’re already an active user of Google+ with a customized profile (personal photo, bio and social links) and attributed public posts, I don’t see why this would be any different than how you are standing behind your words in that comment. With the available privacy options, you could always hide whatever information you don’t want others to see and if really needed, use a fake photo (or opt to leave it blank).

  • s guy

    So it was harder to put a button “Hide anonymous replies” than forcing us to join google+, if youre so worried about anonymous replies…

    I wont start using google+, and if im forced to use it, there will be several accounts for donald duck from disneyland.