Google Play is now connected with Google+, and by associating reviews with an identity, the quality of reviews has increased tremendously (in addition to letting users find reviews they trust).
Android developers on Google Play can now reply to user reviews directly in the Google Play Developer Console, "and your replies are shown publicly below the corresponding user review on Google Play."
"Users receive an email notification when you reply and can either reply to you directly by email, or update their review if they choose to do so -- though keep in mind that users are not obligated to update their reviews," explains Google.
You can also update your reply at any time.
Google notes, that before replying to user reviews, it is important to review the posting guidelines to be sure that you're using this feature in compliance with Google Play's policies at all times. The reply to each user's review will be public, so prospective users will see if you provide consistently high quality customer support.
Google has also shared best practices for most effective use of this feature:
- "Check reviews frequently, and involve people from all parts of your organization
- Identify and prioritize bugs based on user impact
- Let users know when their problems are resolved
- Reply constructively to both negative and positive reviews
- Refer users to documentation or other support channels
- Get ideas about new improvements or features
- Thank the users who are your biggest advocates," Google writes.
In other Android news, just ahead of Google I/O 2013, Wired publishes an interview with Sundar Pichai, Google's svp for Chrome, Apps and Android.
Pichai's biggest Android challenge is to "improve the whole world's end-user experience without changing the open nature of Android". In short, Google aims to "bring together something seamless and beautiful and intuitive across all the screens--(whether your laptop runs Windows, Android or Chrome OS, whether your phone or tablet runs Android, iOS, Chrome OS or Firefox OS)."
For now, both Android and Chrome OS will continue to exist. Chrome's new packaged apps will also be available on mobile devices. Android tries to fight fragmentation by introducing new APIs using Google Play Services.
Pichai compares Android and Chrome OS with iOS and Mac OSX, which are different, yet have a lot of things in common.
"Android and Chrome are both large, open platforms, growing very fast. I think that they will play a strong role, not merely exist. I see this as part of friendly innovation and choice for both users and developers," he says. Adding, "We're living through a pivotal moment. It's a world of multiple screens, smart displays, with tons of low-cost computing, with big sensors built into devices. At Google we ask how to bring together something seamless and beautiful and intuitive across all these screens. The picture may look different a year or two from from now, but in the short term, we have Android and we have Chrome, and we are not changing course," Sundar said.
Also, Go 1.1 the "gophers"--released today includes significant performance improvements, a race detector for finding concurrency bugs, new standard library functionality, and other fixes and refinements.
"Since Go 1.0, the core received more than 2600 commits from 161 people outside Google," Google stated.
Data Sensing Lab at Google I/O 2013 teams up with the O'Reilly Data Sensing Lab to deploy hundreds of Arduino-based environmental sensors.
"Using software built with the Google Cloud Platform, we'll be collecting and visualizing ambient data about the conference, such as temperature, humidity, air quality, in real time! Altogether, the sensors network will provide over 4,000 continuous data streams over a ZigBee mesh network managed by Device Cloud by Etherios," Google announced.
Google has also added a new vertical Black Menu to Chrome for its services on search results.
Just mouse over each menu item and you'll get a gadget-like interface for a Google service. And, when you mouse over the links section, you get some useful links for the Google service you've selected.
You can also rearrange menu items and add new ones from the "more" section. For example, you can add the URL shortener option to quickly create a short URL for the current page. Add the Chrome Apps menu item to get a Chrome launcher that includes the apps you've installed in Chrome.