Google allows developers to answer user comments in Play app store

The feature is only available for a limited number of developers, for now

Google is adding the ability for developers to respond to reviews and comments posted about their apps on the Play app store, the company said in a blog post on Thursday.

Developers can use the new feature in the developer console to help confused users, or let them know when their feature requests have been implemented. When developers reply to a review, the user who wrote it will be told via email that the developer has responded, according to Google.

Developers can view data, including comments, about their applications in the Google Play Android Developer Console. Here developers can also sort comments based on language, rating, application version and device. In a new field in the console, developers can write and post their replies, according to a Google screenshot.

At first, the feature will only be available to developers with a Top Developer badge, according to Google. However, the company plans offer it to more Google Play developers in the future, it said.

It is a welcome addition, according to mobile developer Konrad Hübner.

"This is one of the biggest drawbacks of both Apple's AppStore and Google Play. There is no way to ask people what went wrong and really help them, unless you use custom feedback features in the app. So it is a great step taken by Google. Really, really nice and a win-win situation for both developers and users," said Hübner.

Ahead of next week's I/O developer conference, Google has also updated the design of the Android Developers site, according toa second blog post on Thursday.

According to Google, a developer's tasks can be divided into three groups: designing, developing, and distributing applications -- a division the site now mirrors.

In the design section, developers can find information about how to design a user interface for an Android application, including typography, color and structure.

The development part of the site includes a training section and the tools necessary to produce Android apps.

However, the most important piece of the piece of the puzzle is about getting the app in front of the millions of users on Play, according to Google. Therefore, the company has added a section on distribution.

The Google I/O developer conference starts on June 27 in San Francisco.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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