Individual app pages on the Android Market now show not just the average star rating and the total number of people who left star ratings for the app. The app pages also now show the breakdown of how many users left 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 star for the app.
Being the primary source of Android apps, the Android Market provides an avenue for users to search for Android apps and relevant information about those apps. The latest feature that added Google added to its Android Market is a step towards making app evaluation easier for market patrons.
Here’s a partial screenshot of the star rating breakdown for the all-time popular app on the Android Market–Google Maps:
Critical reaction towards the new feature has been mixed. Some users say that the star rating breakdown is a step towards making app information more transparent. Others say it is senseless and completely unnecessary. Several critics hold the belief that, as of this time, the star ratings on the Android Market are not very reliable indicators of an app’s quality.
And, since apps evolve over time, the evolution of its star rating may also evolve, but the current star rating system and the new star rating breakdown feature do not show such information. If Google could implement a star rating system that shows ratings over time, the information would probably be more useful than what is currently available.
There is also the nagging issue about using (or, should it rather be labeled “abusing”?) the star rating system by users who have an axe to grind against apps that do not meet the said users feature requests. Countless numbers of 1 star ratings have been given to otherwise-wonderful apps simply because the apps don’t have this or that feature. Related to this is the issue of using (or “abusing”) the star rating system to give poor ratings to apps that don’t work on particular Android devices, despite the app developers’ public announcements of what is or is not supported (provided, that the app developers themselves do issue such notices).
So, yeah, the Android Market leaves much to be desired, but given the speed at which Google has implemented new and useful features to the Market, we can surely see the Android Market evolve into a more useful venue for buying or grabbing free apps.
As it stands today, what star rating would you give the current Android Market? Or, better yet, what features would you like to see implemented on the Android Market that would make it more helpful and useful to app searchers?