Google announced Thursday it will make changes to the Play Store's ranking algorithm to take into account the quality of the app and the performance. The goal is to allow better-performing apps to rank higher in search results than apps with bugs and other performance issues, such as those that exhibit more frequent crashes.
Google will promote the best-performing apps in the store, while the others will rank lower in the list on queries. The higher the app appears in the store, the more likely it will be downloaded frequently. Higher-ranking apps in Play Store are also very likely to rank higher in Google search.
PlayStore now has more than one million apps available to download, which means that a large number goes undiscovered.
The change -- which should encourage engineers to quickly fix bugs -- came about after Google noticed that half of 1-star reviews mentioned app stability, wrote Andrew Ahn, product manager of Google Play, in a post. "Developers who focus on app quality can see improvements in their rating, and ultimately their retention and monetization," he wrote.
Google recently improved its search and discovery algorithms to reflect app quality, and so far the change has had a positive impact on engagement, per Ahn, noting that people are using apps more and installing them less.
Developers focusing on performance can use the Play Console to help find and fix quality issues. For example, Android vitals can identify key performance issues reported by opted-in devices that have apps installed. The pre-launch report shows the results of tests on physical devices so developers can catch issues before launching updates.