In case you hadn’t noticed, Google is quite serious about this whole Google+ integration thing. Now that Google has its hand in a little bit of everything from maps to mobile to search (oh yeah, they do that, too), the company is positioning G+ as the hub of their user experience.
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Android app reviews are now the latest entry into the Google+-centric era of Google. If you want to leave a review for an app on the Google Play store nowadays, you’ll need a Google+ profile to do so. Gone are the days of anonymous bashing of apps, music, or books. Google is pushing hard for an authentic community – people with real names and photos leaving their opinions. The company has already made the shift for Chrome app reviews and Map reviews.
For now, all reviews completed before this new change will be listed as coming from “A Google User”. As seen in the screenshot below, Google is also providing relevant data regarding the devices used for these reviews. So, if you see someone hating on a new app you were considering, you can take a look to see if he or she has a phone that could actually handle the app in the first place.
There will certainly be some transition as Google switches over the functionality of tying in Google+ profiles to reviews on both the desktop and mobile experiences. Your mobile device may or may not integrate your G+ profile in app reviews by the time you read this post.
Assuming that the Google+ integration with the Play store will work in the same way as it did with the Google+ Local reviews, users will have the opportunity to claim their previous reviews. We haven’t heard if Google is planning to do so, but it is likely. The company certainly wants to make the most of its available data.
So, what service will be next to fall under the Google+ profile integration? We’ve been seeing Google toying around with more integration between Plus and Android services for the past few weeks as Google began allowing users to install apps directly from Google+ streams.
Maybe this is a precursor for more intensive Google+ activity to come. If you start to see Google playing around with your favorite service, then watch out. Big changes are coming.
I, for one, welcome them. Transparency and consolidation on the web are long overdue.