Android developers now have the ability to reply to user reviews and comments left in the Google Play store, according to the official developers blog. Starting today, those listed with Top Developers badges can log into the Developer Console and leave replies and other messages to users. A wider release is expected once additional feedback is gathered from developers and the Android community.
Ideally, this is a good way for companies to show its users that comments and criticism don't fall on deaf ears. Using the new tools, developers can create dialogue with its base and let them know that features are coming or that a particular bug has been addressed. Once a response is left, the user will be notified and given the opportunity to contact the developer directly for additional followup.
I've seen plenty of reviews in Google Play over the years where the comments and ratings are almost hostage-like. It's not uncommon to see something like, "This gets one star until they add support for X language." What's more, some treat the comments section as way to seek help with very specific issues. Perhaps this will be a great way to handle those volatile situations.
Android developers also will find that they have a newly redesigned developer portal that's much cleaner and easier to navigate. Focused on three key segments -- design, develop, and distribute -- the new layout reorganizes the site's contents in a more intuitive manner.