Phones

Google declares war on 1-star app reviews

Apps in the bottom 25 percent of the Google Play Store had better watch out.

Google wants to help you get more good apps on your phone.

Josh Miller/CNET

Google wants to improve Android apps, and it's not afraid to call out the bad ones.

Crashing, slowness and battery vampirism enrage Android device owners and make the appmaker look bad.

A whopping 50 percent of 1-star apps are slammed because they're unstable, the Google Play team said at the annual I/O developer conference. And that's not great for a company that's helped push out 82 billion app installations in the past year.

Google's plan to improve the bottom 25 percent of app ratings in the Google Play Store starts with flagging those bad app-les.

An app might make the hit list for:

  • Freezing for more than 5 seconds at a time
  • Crashing
  • Lag time (specifically, when 50 percent of your frames render under 60 frames per second)
  • Using the radio or CPU unnecessarily
  • Waking up the device more than 10 times per hour when it's idle

Google will follow up with tips to help appmakers understand their problems and turn their apps around. A metrics dashboard will also help developers decide when it's time to push out an update or suss out why users are uninstalling in unusually large numbers.

Hopefully these changes will lead to better apps for everyone.