User reviews are one of those necessary evils when it comes to the Internet. There are a lot of good people out there who want to praise the hard work you put into your product, but there's always that one person who has to make an attack on your product just because they can. Software reviews are especially bad since developers can never really defend themselves... until now.
Google has now added the ability for developers to reply to user reviews on Google Play. According to Android Spin, the change will be rolled out over time starting with those who have a "top developer badge." It's the smaller developers who need this ability the most to protect themselves against unwarranted attacks from Internet trolls so here's hoping they get responses soon.
The change makes Google Play a more developer friendly platform compared to its competitors. Apple really needs to get on the ball with a similar solution to combat the absurd amount of spammy and outright deceitful reviews that go up on iTunes as well. I'm all for people being able to review a product that they own, but developers need a chance to respond to criticism and unwarranted attacks.
Looking on the positive side, the change will also allow developers to interact with their fans in a positive way. It's a great way to keep fans engaged and let them know about upcoming updates without them having to find the developer's Web site or other information repository.
Developers can check to see if they have the reply ability by visiting the Android Developer Console on Google Play. If a reply function is under the comments on the Android Developer Console, you have the newfound reply ability. If not, the wait shouldn't be that much longer until you can start replying to reviews. We'll let you know when the reply ability is made available to all.