Google has started rolling out a feature that could make judging apps in the Play Store a lot easier — it’ll only show reviews based on the type of device you’re using, be it a phone, tablet / foldable, Chromebook, Android Auto, or wearable (via Android Police). The change, which was announced in August 2021 as coming in “early 2022,” arrives as Google’s getting ready to launch a tablet and wearable of its own.
In the reviews section of the Play Store, there’s now a notice to let you know that ratings are “verified,” and that you’re being shown feedback from people using the same type of device as you. I had a colleague look at the reviews for the YouTube app on his foldable, and he was shown a different set of reviews than I was while using my S22.
This feature is becoming increasingly important as Android apps spread to even more form factors; someone using Google’s upcoming Pixel Tablet will experience an app very differently than someone running it on a Chromebook, and people with folding phones are probably going to be interested in how an app works on a big screen. And if you’re trying to install an app on your WearOS smartwatch, you really don’t want to have to scroll through a ton of reviews about the phone version of the app.
There are a few caveats to the system. As Esper’s Mishaal Rahman and Google’s original blog post note, tablets and foldables are lumped into the same category. While that mostly makes sense for devices like the Galaxy Z Fold or Surface Duo, with their respective 7.6 and 8.3-inch displays, it doesn’t seem like the Galaxy Z Flip with its 6.7-inch screen should be in the same category as the 14.6-inch Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. While that likely won’t be a problem for most people, the system could make things a little weird in edge cases.
It’s also worth remembering that the store is going off your device type, not the specific device you have. However, the Play Store does let you do this manually. If you go into the ratings and reviews section for an app, then tap the three-line filter button that appears before the reviews start, you can tell it to only show you reviews for your device model.