Responding to complaints from developers, Microsoft announced two big changes coming to the Store in Windows 10: It is improving app visibility and the ways in which app reviews are presented.
“Windows Store has received feedback from some developers who were not able to find their apps in the Store and we’ve been working hard to improve app visibility,” Microsoft’s Bernardo Zamora writes in a new post to the Building Apps for Windows blog. “In addition to improving app visibility, later this month the Store will also optimize the algorithms that determine which app reviews are shown in Dev Center and Windows Store.”
Here’s what’s changing.
Microsoft claims that it “rebuilt the Store in Windows 10 from the ground up” to support all Windows digital content types—apps, games, music, TV shows, and movies—in a single place. But that resulted in some changes to the Store listings and search algorithms, which could have impacted app visibility in a negative way. So over the past few months, Microsoft has made the following changes to address this issue:
More accurate rankings. Microsoft has adjusted the algorithm it uses to rank search results to give more weight to “app quality signals,” meaning the number of downloads and ratings. So now you will see higher quality apps first when you search. Honestly, this has always been an issue with Store, on both “big” Windows and Windows phone.
Search enhancements. Microsoft has likewise updated the algorithm it uses to index apps, so that when users search an app by name or related keyword, they see the app they want. (Again, a huge historical issue with Store.) “The Store will continue to limit search visibility for apps that don’t meet quality requirements, such as those that abuse keywords or are considered spam,” it notes.
Support process adjustments. Microsoft’s developer support is “reviewing tickets opened for app search and visibility issues, to confirm they are solved by the two updates mentioned above or to identify any remaining gaps before a ticket is closed.” So a follow-up to the other two, I guess.
Microsoft is also making improvements to how app reviews are posted in the Store. It goes like this: All reviews will initially appear in Dev Center (for developers) and in the public Store after customers submit them. But after a few days later those reviews that do not meet the following requirements are hidden in the public Store:
Fradulent/spam reviews. “The Store protects customers by removing reviews that for example are fraudulent or spam,” Microsoft notes.
No Insider builds allowed. Today, reviews posted by users on any Windows 10 Insider Preview build are hidden from the public because their experience could be different than those of customers running the public version of Windows 10. But that’s changing: Starting in March, reviews written by Insiders on the Slow ring will be displayed.
Obviously, anything that improves the quality of Windows Store is quite welcome.