A major drop in app install rates over the final ten days of June sent some Android developers panicking, with a number of them complaining about their performance plummeting by as much as 90-percent in recent weeks. After taking to social media and a wide variety of online forums to share their grievances, dozens of indie studios concluded the issue is a widespread one, with the main implication being that Google once again changed its Play Store ranking algorithms, something it does on a regular basis.
The majority of affected Android apps are games, many of which fall under the Trivia category on the Play Store, and with Google sticking to its practice of not announcing or detailing ranking algorithm tweaks, some developers indulged speculation over the possible cause of the issue, with a number of them alleging the drops may not be happening by design. Instead, a possibility that the Play Store is mismatching various listing parameters such as categories and descriptions has been raised as such an issue would significantly alter the contents of the "Similar" suggestion tab shown below app listings on the Play Store, a major install generator for many studios. The chances that Google's Developer Console itself is broken and is reporting inaccurate figures are next to none, most affected developers agree.
It's presently unclear whether the changes Google introduced to the Play Store that ended up causing the issues are permanent. Some Android developers already contacted the company's support channels and were told their inquiries have been escalated, with the firm simply providing a blank media statement on how any Play Store tweaks are always made with the goal of improving the overall user experience of the Android ecosystem. The gallery below shows several examples of mobile apps from independent studios seeing their performance plummet starting late last month. Developers are encouraged to keep their apps regularly updated and continue improving them in order to mitigate the chances of sudden performance drops. More fortunate individuals in the Android development community are presently being asked to share their stories with Google and be considered as potential stars of the company's ongoing #IMakeApps series.