Google engineer and Android developer advocate Trevor Johns just revealed on the company’s Android Developers blog that they’re rolling out the ability to talk back to their reviewers right from the Developer Console.
Before you Android devs gear up to give that one snotty jerk a mouthful, know this — as of right now, Google has only enabled the feature for their Top Developers, so you’re currently out of luck unless you or your company has that trusty blue badge in the Google Play Store.
The company declined to confirm when the rest of the platform’s developers will be able to respond to reviews, mentioning instead that they’re waiting on “feedback from users and developers” before they roll the feature out any further.
Even with those limitations in place, this could be a tremendous tool for developers to control their image among users. Historically, there hasn’t been much of a way for them to speak directly with their people or address their concerns unless those users took the effort to reach out in a way that was more conducive to conversation. What’s more, in an effort to make sure those responses are seen, the commenter in question will receive an email notification alerting them when a developer replies to their post.
Is a user’s ill-informed opinion leading others astray? Are some users having issues with a particular feature? Now at least some developers can set the record straight, and (with any luck) appear like thoughtful, concerned members of the Android community in the process. Consequently, those who don’t pay particular attention to their comments and reviews may end up paying for it down the line, especially as Google plans to push the response ability to others in the future. It’ll be interesting to see how this little addition will change the nature of discourse in the Google Play store, but for now feel free to scour the store in search of developer responses — they’re bound to pop up any time now.