Why are reviews on Play Store by “A Google User”? Are they fakes? [dotTech Explains]

You may have noticed something peculiar happening to reviews for apps, games, movies, TV shows, books, songs, and magazine reviews on Google Play Store: most of the reviews are now by “A Google User” instead of a specific person. Why is this? Are those fake reviews? They aren’t, actually.

You see Google modified Play Store recently. Google has made it so all people who want to reviews apps, games, etc. on Play Store must have a Google+ account, and all reviews will be posted using your Google+ name and picture. The reason why you are seeing so many reviews by “A Google User” is because Google has stripped names and images from all old reviews (reviews submitted prior to this new change) and renamed them all as being written by “A Google User”. The reviews themselves aren’t fake (except for the ones that are) — they are just renamed. All new reviews posted going forward will be using Google+ names and won’t be from “A Google User”.

It is as simple as that — no conspiracy here.

Now, the question of why the hell is Google forcing users to use Google+ and their first and last names (Google+ requires everything to use their “common” first and last name) to post reviews on Play Store is a whole different can of worms. Come on, Google. I realize you want people to use Google+ but this isn’t the way to go about it; forcing people to use something they don’t want to use helps no one. If Apple has no issue with people posting reviews on Apple App Store with pseudonyms, then I don’t see why it should be a problem on Google Play Store. Indeed, Android is supposed to be more “open” than iOS; where is our freedom of picking our online names? Hang on, let me go grab my pitchfork and meet everyone out at Googleplex.

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  • Bruce Fraser

    What’s the problem with using one’s real name?
    I persuaded our local newspaper to stop publishing “letters to the editor” from people who signed themselves “anonymous.” The reasoning was that if I’m not willing to put my name behind my opinion, then my opinion is worthless.

    Yes, there is the “Big Brother” fear, and there may be some grounds for that in repressive regimes. But the insulting and vulgar “debates” which are so common on forums and blog comments are the sad consequence of anonymity.

  • OMG They can’t possibly carry on with this!! How can the App developers possibly be happy with it?

    I must admit I’m a bit lax about writing reviews but I find other people’s reviews really useful. I usually will write a review when I feel strongly one way or the other.

    But if I have to create a Google+ account – then never – no more reviews at all!

    This would have to seriously impact on the number of reviews that get written