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back to article Developer fury as Google makes Android apps vanish

Android developers are furious about Google's changes to the way search works in the Android application marketplace. The changes were put into place on 1 July, and since then, a lot of previously very popular applications have now effectively disappeared. The anger on the Android forums is partly financial – one developer said …

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Silver badge
Joke

Google Arrogance

"partly irritation at Google's arrogance: the company hasn't bothered to respond."

This is the worst thing about Google. You and I see their lack of response as arrogance; they see it as "the engineers are busy fixing the bug you reported, wouldn't you rather have them do that then respond to your email?". A post on Google Operating System explained it; reading it was a eureka moment for me!

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2011/07/customer-service-in-early-days-of.html

If there's one thing I've learned from my years of working in IT, it's that users value communication very highly. If there is a problem the best thing you can do is keep them up-to-date so they know what progress is being made on the resolution.

Joke alert because Google's support is often one.

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Stop

Your lack of a joke . . .

when using the "Joke Alert" icon is clearly a misrepresentation designed to deceive. It is downright dishonest, indeed dispicable and a deplorable act, not to mention a dereliction of duty. I am disgusted. I feel demeaned and devalued.

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Joke

It's no joke

Allow me to demonstrate my deepest apologies which are undoubtably due.

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Facepalm

Just another reminder that

Google knows what's best, as Google likes to remind us in all their products.

"We know what the customers really want is for us to fix issues, so we'll do that without letting them know."

What are customers expecting? Feedback on their feedback? A quick response that Google is aware of the issues? Crazy!

I'm sure at this point the "customer service reps" don't even have a real "Reply" button. Receive the issue, determine if it is an issue, hit "Reply" and the same message gets sent out automatically every time.

"Thank you for spending the time and bothering to email us. Please don't expect any further responses or update from the company, if the issue gets fixed hopefully you will just notice."

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They borrowed that button...

...from Microsoft, didn't they?

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Happy

So very true!

"If there's one thing I've learned from my years of working in IT, it's that users value communication very highly."

More less what my first manager drummed into me when she said, "No matter how big a cock-up you make, make sure someone knows what happened, give 'em the truth if you like that's up to you or your manager, but always, always make sure you keep telling 'em what you're doing to get it fixed. No matter how long it takes!"

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Coat

Feeling D-valued?

N/T

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So they have made the search worse?

I didn't think it was possible to make the search feature of the android market any worse than it already was... and this from a company with the best search engine.

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Love it ..

.. thanks, I missed that rather startling irony, grin. I need more coffee, obviously :-)

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Best search engine?

I think you forgot to select the "joke" icon for your post.

The Google search may have been good in the past, but now that it totally ignores some of your words in the search term, even if pre-fixed with a "+", and decides to search for something else instead: "Showing results for "PLT" show results for "PLL" instead"... I could go on but the post would be too long and I'd get depressed about how they killed other useful search engines "Altavista, etc.", and then went crap.

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Perhaps not the best anymore

Yeah ok saying 'best' was probably taking things a bit far, and it does annoy at times with it's assumed defaults. I still can't think of a better search engine. I am happy to try any alternatives.

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Thumb Up

Alternatives

Then have a try of Duck Duck Go... Provides good, solid results with minimal faff.

In particular have a look at their privacy policy - no collection or sharing of your personal data.

https://duckduckgo.com/

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Results aren't particularly well organised

I did try it, and the results just aren't very well ordered and you don't get as much of an impression as to the actual content of the site. Perhaps that is just down to me being used to the formatting of googles search results, but I can usually glance down a page of googles search results and pick out the ones that are likely to be of interest.

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Big Brother

Try startpage.com instead

That includes Google, but without the privacy risks.

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Ru
Headmaster

Didn't they make their fortune selling ads?

The fact they happen to do operating systems and email and search is sort of a bonus, especially as they give away most of that sort of thing for free.

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Joke

let me fix that for you

didn't they make their fortune selling people the business names those people had mistakenly assumed they already owned?

there, fixed :-)

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IT Angle

Wait

The Android Marketplace is now disorganised and chaotic? I can't say I've noticed any difference.....

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Trollface

Heh.

Just rename your application so it is more visible in the market. Not a big deal.

sent from my soon-to-be-released miracle gDevice.

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RE: Thomas

Same here, i can still find what i want and it loads faster aswell.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Coffee/keyboard

Ahem...

And just to think how Apple got flamed for the way they handle the App Store!

Of course the Android Marketplace was supposed to be everything that the App Store isn't, benefiting both developers and Andoid users.

Well, hasn't the tide taken a turn for the worst now? It was only a question of time before Google stamped their authorative bootprint onto Android apps.

It's the typical knee jerk reaction to take control and manage a growing monster. Sure the Jobsian App Store is not perfect, but then again, it seems as if the Andoid App Marketplace is losing its develpor friendly approach too... sadly...

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title

Of course as an Android user one can choose to use another App Store if you're not happy with Google's.....

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Gimp

True...

but it will still be a train wreck of spam ridden malware infested apps with no decent games available. And its search functionality will probably be worse.

Better off with an iDevice where the app store works just fine and dandy.

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Re:True

Ever tried searching for something in the iOS App Store? It's a pain in the arse to find anything as you cannot filter by anything relevant. Less malware for sure, but no more searchable.

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FAIL

iDevice store

Yeah, the iApp iStore works fine...

I search for apps, and it shows me loads. I click one read all the crap and decide I want it. I click buy. I click download; then it tells me that the app is not compatible!

I go back to the list, look at a few more, and decide to buy another one. Click buy, click download and it tells me that it's not compatible either. Rinse and repeat a few more times. After maybe an hour I eventually have a simple SSH app that I really wanted an hour ago.

Please explain how that is working fine and dandy..

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FAIL

Not compatible?

Really?

You do know that at the side of the apps, in the description giving version numbers, date of release, the developer and such, just underneath there is a 'Requirements' section, might be worth checking there before downloading.

Also, unless you are still using iOS 2.x on a 3G or older, you really shouldn't be having any problems. it's not like your trying to run an android app coded to work on an HTC phone, on a samsung phone.

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Trollface

Really?

Bullshit alert

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Gav
FAIL

Problem originates between keyboard and chair

If only there was somewhere on the application description where the app requirements and compatibilities were listed. That would save so much time.

Of course, that won't help you if you don't read it. It's a problem all right.

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FAIL

Google standard practice, ignore, evade, do what they like

Wonder if that's related to the 'surprising' filtering going on in the app review lists in the new Market app. Instead of displaying reviews in date order with minimal filtering (just spam), they're now in some unfathomable order that appears semi random with a heavy dose of burying low ratings.

It's bizarre finding 4&5 star reviews from Jan or even last year topping the lists, regardless of what current review ratings actually are. Their woefully broken Maps 5.7.x series used to feature around 40% 1 star ratings and has done for 2+months. Now you'll struggle to see more than 1 in 20 low ratings.

It's tempting to say it's deliberate but the damage is too random and too widespread. My own app fell from 1st to 5th in its small (7 result) search, despite having higher reviews and more downloads than all the rest combined. My guess is someone made a catastrophic error in the ratings algorithm and the single 1* review last week matters more than anything else.

I don't buy the 'let the engineers get on with fixing it'. There's a long standing problem with G both not responding and eventually it becoming clear they aren't actually working on a fix. Trying to get bad map locations on Maps fixed is a complete waste of time in my experience, Android bugs go unfixed for years and feedback never, ever happens till someone with a big enough PR stick intervenes.

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Possibly logical

I see a case for grouping together positive and negative reviews of an app. What's good about it, and what may not be.

On the other hand, the apps that I have experience of frequently get free updates to newer versions. So older reviews may be talking about bad features that have been improved, or about good features that were broken or removed in a new edition.

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Any other order . . .

The most valid way to display reviews or comments is chronological. Yes you might see a bunch of bogus reviews together that way, but common sense should help weed those out.

The new markets way of putting selected reviews in no particular order is worse than useless, it is counter productive. This needs to be fixed.

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Anonymous Coward

[smug mode engaged]

at least with the iOS appstore, we knew Apple would have the tight control of it, and so you're not overly surprised when they do things without telling people.

but with Android, people have been under the delusion that Google are their best friends, and as such, comes as quite a shock when they act like any other large corporation

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WTF?

Ahem. Pot, meet Kettle ...

"but with Android, people have been under the delusion that Google are their best friends"

You mean ...

Just like what happens when people find out Apple isn't their best pal either?

<COLOUR_ME_SHOCKED>

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Pint

Try reading instead of being smug

If you read the post you so smugly replied to, you'd have noticed it said at the get-go, "you know you're going to get shafted by Apple, there are no illusions of control".

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FAIL

get a life people

this article doesn't say what the problem is, what kind of apps are not being listed when searched by name( scam apps maybe? ) or anything other than some app developers don't like the changes. Yet post after post is about big brother google. WTF, are there that many chicken little followers out there?

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Unhappy

apple win?

and so as the android world thrashes around...... Apple's closed and controlled world appeals more and more to normal people (who just want it to work to and don't worry about being restrained)

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normal people

Yes, my completely non-technical old mum who can't work computers, for example. She was going to get an Android phone, but after reading about the Market search issues on the Google support forums, she's now getting an iphone. Fuck sake...

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Stop

apple win???

Yeah because developers never complain about the Apple app store do they? In fact I would struggle to find one single complaint about Apple's secret inclusion policy, no in app purchases from developer's sites, change of terms and conditions that remove their app from the app store, puritanical restrictions on content.\, restrictions on programming language you can use...etc. In fact to test I just did a search on Apple's corporate support system - nope not one. Must be that developer just can't find anything to complain about Apple. Long live the king!

This is developer complaints not "normal people".

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WTF?

Let me get this straight

"Yes, my completely non-technical old mum who can't work computers, for example. She was going to get an Android phone, but after reading about the Market search issues on the Google support forums, she's now getting an iphone"

So your completely non-technical mother now develops iPhone apps? Because if she wasn't a developer, why would she be that concerned about this?

Would explain a lot of the sub-par iPhone ports I've been seeing in the Android Market recently ;-)

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RE: Let me get this straight

@dotdavid

Wow, just wow!

(Where's the "flying over your head" icon?)

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RE: Let me get this straight

Gah! I'd hoped it would be obvious that I was taking the piss out of Little Me's post.

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Facepalm

Doh

My sarcasm detector malfunctioned somewhat just there...

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Silver badge

"Searching by developer name, which a consumer is not likely to do"

Actually I search by developer name on the Market quite often. If I like an app then I often click the "View more applications" link in the Developer Info section of the app's Market entry. That does a search by developer name.

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rvt
Joke

Talk to the claw...

Google's usual response is: http://www.catsalley.com/c/talk_to_the_claw--144921050670578758-product-210.jpg

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WTF?

Die Tatze. Die Kralle.

It's not a claw, it's a paw. he claw is part of a paw.

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Stop

Its funny

Its funny how the largest search engine company does searching so poorly in its own app market.

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Feeling it.

I'm feeling the developer community's pain here, even though I'm just a regular end-user pleb.

Google's lacking support infrastructure is perhaps THE biggest issue that counts against them in my book. With Google, so much is free (in exchange for the opportunity to sell everything down to your DNA blueprints for advertising opportunities, granted!), but they use this freeness as an unacknowledged get-out clause for leaving users totally without decent support.

So this story is sadly classic Google. They randomly change something (usually with their infuriating involuntary "opted-you-in" ethic) and lo, they break something horribly. You try to get help using their horribly emaciated help forums, only to find your problem left utterly ignored despite having a good number of other users posting in agreement. And even if you are lucky enough to snag a Google Employee response, it is usually exactly as outlined in the article: "ok, we'll look into it" and then a month later, "engineers still working on it lol, k thx bye!"

And this isn't me being a miserablist-by-proxy: I'm presently one of the thousands who's stock Android calendar app lost all its appointments and cannot keep them even when they randomly come back. It's still unfixed even in its third month. Utterly gobsmacking. Don't get me wrong, I prefer Android far and away over the Third iReich, but it is BECAUSE of my love for and dependence on Google's services that I feel so let down and abandoned when things go wrong.

You know, I'd gladly pay £20 a month for some kind of premium Google service where all the products & services I depend on get dedicated, timely and dependable support, just as iDevice owners can call up and expect a good result. Apple's brand image paranoia is good at least for that - it ensures Apply take ownership of their products. As a devout Google user, though, I live day-to-day praying something else won't horrifically fuck up.

Anyone else feel like this?

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FAIL

Colour me unsurprised.

What a great big honking surprise.

Not.

Just look at the ho-ha over trying to get colours into the google calender application.

Ye gods, you'd think they were being asked to pull their own teeth with rusty pliars (hmm....) from the practically zero level responses to the custoemrs (scuse me, guinea pigs) out there.

Now, I WAS thinking of getting an adroid phone to replace my winmob one, but after all the fiascos with I-whatever and g-whatever, I'm saying stuff that, and sticking with what I know works, and the hell with trendiness and whatnot.

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Facepalm

Surprise

We learn fandroids are more rabid than fanbois...

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has worked with google before. Ever used adwords? Or adsense, etc? You will know you at the mercy of Google. People have slated Apple for this, and praised Googles "open" approach to their marketplace. No doubt I will get the fandroids voting me down for daring to abise their love.

Please do not suggest using another marketplace, unless you are in the US and can use Amazon, nothing comes close for traffic and sales to Googles own app store. You too can now do the merry dance of spiralling death with googles algorithms. Apparently this is hittiiing all sorts of apps, not just spam.

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In google we trust

It must be Apple's fault!!!

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