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The truth behind Google Play ratings drop

March 13, 2014

If you’re not an application developer then December 10, 2013 means almost nothing to you. However, if your app is on Google Play Market, you probably remember that day and it brought you nothing but a portion of confusion and sadness. The day when ratings began to fall…
A lot has already been written and discussed regarding this topic. To cut a long story short, around December 10, Google Play Market introduced a new feature called “Want quick suggestions?”. This widget prompts users to rate an app suggested by Google play without writing a comment. The idea wasn’t that bad, but it has been implemented in a confusing way. First, many users might think they rate the quality of the suggestion itself, while in fact the mark adds to the rating of the app. Second, the star area is really sensitive so you can happen to rate some app randomly while simply scrolling the page. All this has already resulted in low ratings for all apps on Google Play from people, who have never used them or have accidentally rated them low.
As Android Police noted:
“…users are only reading the top line and interpreting this as Google asking if it should suggest more apps like the one shown, as is common on other services. It’s also possible the app shown may have been forgotten by long-time users and could be perceived as a suggestion. In either case, somebody might be inclined to give low ratings to discourage the Play Store from recommending such apps again. Even if people are reading the less prominent second line, which is more clear that you’re actually rating the item, it’s not obvious how a high or low score will be used to produce suggestions.”
A lot of popular apps have faced this problem. B1 Free Archiver is not an exception. This is how our rating looks after December 10:

The drop is obvious, unpleasant and doesn’t represent the real situation with the Rating you see on Google Play Market. However, the all-powerful math comes to rescue. It’s possible to manually count the number of reviews for each star and to determine the real rating of the app.
So, using this method, we get the real and representative Rating for B1 Free Archiver based on the last month Reviews:

In other words, the 4.7 (almost 4.8) Rating represents B1 Free Archiver’s situation on Google Play Market without “Want quick suggestions?” widget’s data.