Google Play now allows developers to reply to user reviews

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Google Play now allows developers to reply to user reviews
With no official announcement or fanfare to be found, it would appear Google now allows developers to directly reply to user reviews posted on Google Play.

Developers on Twitter are reporting that they're now able to respond to posts made in review of their apps and games, with replies made public for Google Play's entire userbase to see.

Talky talk

According to Josh Presseisen of Crescent Moon Games, Android developers have been told that their replies will be "publicly visible underneath the original review in the Google Play store."

Presseisen says he believe the new feature was added last night, though he only found out after being tipped off by Laylio Games.

The move is not without precedent, however, coming little over a week after Google unveiled a new look and purchase flow for its official store.

About time?

Indeed, many developers have long called out for a way to interact with user reviews on all major mobile marketplaces, with the ability to respond to negative reviews in particular an understandable aim.

The new look Google Play store

Even when an app is updated to fix any issues or quarrels highlight by said negative user reviews, on most marketplaces the review itself remains, with little evidence on the store itself that the problems cited have been overcome.

Now, in theory, developers will be able to deal with complaints in a more open and public manner, engaging their audience and ensuring newcomers can see past issues have been dealt with.

UPDATE: It's been pointed out to that the ability for all Google Play developers to respond to user reviews was first floated back in January.

So-called "top developers" have been able to respond to users since June 2012, though Google confirmed it would be rolling out the feature to all studios from the start of 2013.

Indeed, Google's support pages for Android developers make reference to the ability to respond to user reviews, advising developers not to "burn bridges", amongst other tips. That advice was published at the end of January

It may be that developers encountering the feature for the first time now form the latest stage in its apparently gradual roll out.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.