Relations between those who build mobile apps and their customers are getting a leg up today with Google’s announcement that all developers will now be able to reply to user reviews in the Play store. The company made the announcement on the Android Developers blog, discussing best practices like identifying and prioritizing bugs based on user impact and getting ideas for new improvements and features. The ability to respond to user reviews first started rolling out nearly a year ago, but now appears to finally be complete, following a false start in January.

Not being able to reply to reviews is a thorn in the sides of mobile developers

Not being able to reply to reviews is a thorn in the sides of mobile developers who largely make their living based on their apps’ reputations. The ability to set a disgruntled user straight or point him or her toward relevant resources can make the difference between a one-star review and a five-star one, although Google points out that users aren’t obligated to revise their reviews after getting a response. But while many agree that more communication between users and developers is in order, not everyone thinks that an app’s reviews section is the best place for content that essentially isn’t a review. iMore's Rene Ritchie and others argue that platform owners ought to support other types of non-review interactions separately, such as bug reports and feature requests.