Google+ requirement for posting reviews on Google Play now in effect

November 27, 2012

google play

Some people often hide behind anonymity when leaving scathing reviews about certain apps and games on Google Play. Not that there’s anything wrong with them if the feedback given was legit, but it’s not unusual to see bogus reasoning with very little substance.

After a recent APK teardown of the latest Google Play app reveals that future reviews on Google’s storefront require folks to use their Google+ account, it looks like the feature is being gradually rolled out. The changes are now visible on the web interface of the store and some devices.

Past reviews on Google Play are now shown as written by “A Google User”. As for new reviews, they will now show your Google+ profile name and picture. While the name will link to your Google Plus account, the review itself won’t be shown on your page.

Integrating Google+ profiles with the Play Store won’t exactly stop spammy reviews from showing up, but at least users can now quickly click on the reviewer’s name to check whether there’s a real person or a “bot” lurking, behind in order to judge the merit of the opinion.

Do you agree that this is a step in the right direction for Google? Are you more likely to post reviews on Google Play now or less due to privacy issue? Please leave your comments below.

Comments

  • Ian Thomas

    And there was much rejoicing!

  • Limbo

    Actually there was no anonymity. Google can track down reviews quite easily! There was few limitations in order to be allowed to leave a review! (install or buy the app, login to the service using Google account). I thing that’s a fail http://eserver.gr/blog/archives/456

  • cepr

    Since I don’t have or intend to have a Google+ account, but I do buy apps, this is a major FAIL. I resent Google pushing me to use their social networking site so they can compete with FB.

  • Belaar

    There must be a way to evaluate if the comments have value to them without publicly reveal your real name. For example, when you click on Belaar here you can see what I’ve written before.

  • A Google User

    It’s a terrible, Facebook-style step to take for google. Identity thiefs and other prying eyes can deduct a lot about my place of living, my occupation, mother tongue and what not from apps reviewed. They can track my alias down in a sports app and check when and where I’m running. Things I am deliberately not sharing publicly on Google+, are now almost just as clear from my review profile. NO more reviews from me. I feel sorry for the app devs that would have deserved it.

  • Johnny2

    I don’t have a google play account, and don’t want to open one so I have not been able to review. This has hurt the lovely indie game with <10k downloads I wanted to review.

    I am authenticated as a user through my gmail, my phone why push +? I'd love to see the drop off in the number of reviews, since this was instigated.

    I also have a very unusual surname which Facebook thought was fake so I don't want all my accounts deleted by google under the real name policy in error, if I do sign up.

  • elceey

    I also do not have Google+ account and will not be forced into one, so no more reviews!

  • A former Google User

    This is EVIL. If Larry Page wants to retain any public credibilty he needs to fire the people who did this and reverse the decision in a very public way.

    What’s so wrong: All existing reviews are disconnected from their accounts. Users are forced to use their full names, not just their Google account name. Users are forced to allow location tracking for no reason. Users are asked to accept new terms without seeing them first. Users are asked to accept new terms after they are already invested in using Google Play, in direct violation of the privacy principles that were the defining reasoning behind Play presenting and prompting for app permissions before even downloading.

  • jdezqus

    First time ever Google leaves a REALLY BAD TASTE in my mouth. I use and love a lot of their services but it should be UP TO ME which ones I decide to join. I feel disrespected as a paying Play Store customer not being able to comment on my purchases unless I let them coerce me into joining G+. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • Andrew

    I’m done posting reviews until this requirement is removed. I can’t believe this thinly veiled attempt by Google to get people to try G+. Communistic.

  • Ted

    I’m officially looking at Windows phone.

  • foo

    usually love google, but don’t have or want any social networking – used to leave reviews, but no more. I will not be forced into g+, — love you big G, but piss off.

  • Like to be anonymous

    Google drops to the level of Facebook and Apple. It’s a shame.

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  • Frog Pants

    I googled (haha) the issue…

    http://www.androidcentral.com/wsj-reports-smartphone-apps-can-and-do-track-user-data
    “WSJ reports smartphone apps can (and do) track user data.”

    http://www.gummicube.com/GnomeEscape.html
    “We track the delivery of the app and remind the user to leave real feedback in iTunes.”

    http://iphonedevsdk.com/forum/business-legal-app-store/76951-how-to-delete-spamcompetitor-review.html
    “Speed;318889 said:
    I want to delete a 1 star review on my application after a Google search of the user’s name revealed that they are just leaving spam reviews… I have heard that developers contact Apple to do this, but where would I go to request a deletion?”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324731304578193781852024980.html
    “Some users of Google’s services are startled to learn how far the integration can reach. Sam Ford, a 26-year-old Navy petty officer, says he signed up for Google+ on his smartphone because it would let him automatically upload new photos to a Google+ folder—one that he kept private. Later, he says, he was surprised to see that his Google+ profile page—which includes his name—was tied to a software review that he wrote recently on the Google Play online store.”

    And here’s one guy’s opinion of how Google plus will be taking over the world…
    http://www.fastcompany.com/3004448/plus-one-proof-google-plus-will-prevail
    “Google Plus’s brilliant method of gaining new users is playing out right in front of our eyes, but no one recognizes it.”

    From the 2nd WSJ article:
    “The impetus comes from the top. Google Chief Executive Larry Page has sought more aggressive measures to get people to use Google+, two people familiar with the matter say. Google created Google+ in large part to prevent Facebook from dominating the social-networking business.”

    “Fretting about Facebook may seem like overkill, given Google’s dominance of the Internet’s lucrative search and advertising market. Last year, Google’s sold $36.5 billion in advertising — 10 times more than Facebook’s $3.2 billion.

    But Page realized Facebook has been carving out a competitive advantage that could be leveraged to topple Google.”

    http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2012/11/27/android-app-store-reviews-google-plus/
    “If you have an Android device, and these are issues that concern you, then the answer is simple – either stop leaving reviews of Android apps, or create a bogus Google+ account using a pseudonym and hope that Google doesn’t notice you’ve broken their rules.”

    That’s what I did… used a pseudonym. Know what Google did? Reset my display name on my gmail to my bogus name. I didn’t realize it until a friend replied to an email I sent. So what did I do? Changed it to my real name. I didn’t have a choice. If I use a fake name, who knows when Google will change it in my email again?

    So what am I going to do? I’ve created an account with Outlook. They can have my business if they’re willing to respect my privacy. I’ll port my gmail and if Larry continues on this obsessively creepy, invasive path of his I guess I’ll end up with an iphone. And I freakin hate iphones.

  • Dave

    I will no longer be posting any Reviews Good or Bad on Google Play anymore. I do not want my name all over the Internet.

  • tony49122

    Google + reveals too much publicly, I refuse to join Google plus. I mostly give positive reviews to support developers, but I don’t want the history of my reviews made public, that just reveals too much info. Unfortunately, that’s what even Disqus does, you can see all my posts to all sorts of forums. So I’ve stopped posting reviews on Google Play. Sorry developers. All I can do is give you moral support (but not in writing). Google, if you are reading this, get rid of publicly linking reviews by username.

  • Ivan Delchev

    I simply detest social websites or apss like Myspace, Google+, Facebook, etc. I want to leave a review of an app or game, but am unable due to that fact. If something is not done to fix this, I will just toss my android in the garbage and buy an iphone. I just hope the store for ios does not require you to connect to a social website or app.
    Well, I can just not leave feedback/review and just email developers if I have a problem with the app. I will so that until I get tired of companies forcing their crappy products on paying customers.

  • Ivan Delchev

    Google+ is needed to leave a review on their Play Store for one reason. Google went, “You don’t want to try Google+? Wee, now you have to”. Guess what? It just means that I will not leave reviews since I detest social networking websites! I will not create one because of something else. The only way for me to create one is when I want to do that. Not, “Sign in to Facebook to leave a comment”. <——- NOT HAPPENING

  • Nnnn

    Giving up Google, Gmail and YouTube. Ditching Android as well. 0 privacy. Thanks but no thanks, Google.

  • Radtech

    Fail! This may have just taken effect because i was able to leave reviews a couple of weeks ago, but not so today. I disabled my Google plus account because i never used it and it was annoying. Now i can’t even leave a review for a purchase without buying into Google plus… Never! This pisses me ofg