It’s no secret that the current ratings system most online app stores use is slightly broken. Users often use them to file bug reports and request new features, but that’s not exactly an efficient way to contact developers. Google, it seems, is trying to fix this. Developers who have apps in the Chrome Web Store can now enable a new feature that separates bug reports, feature requests and general questions about an app from regular ratings and reviews. Once a developer enables this feature, users will be able to send more developer-focused feedback directly to the developer and developers will be able to respond to their customers using the same forum-like application.
These feedback forums are publicly visible, which Google says should help cut down on duplicate reporting. Developers have to manually enable this new feature, though, so chances are you won’t find many apps that use it just yet. In the long run, though, this will likely become a useful tool for developers to collect bug reports. As Google also notes, this feature will provide “a clean separation between reporting bugs and compatibility issues to developers and the rating / comments users can leave in the store relating to the functionality and usefulness of a given app.”
It’s hard not to look at this and think that Google is just using its relatively small Chrome Web Store to test this idea. Its much bigger Google Play app marketplace, after all, suffers from the same issues (as does virtually every other online app store) and could also benefit from this separation between ratings and bug reports.