Microsoft details changes coming to its app Store

Microsoft is constantly working toward improving the Store experience for users and developers alike, not only by removing clutter and increasing the number of quality apps populating the Store but also by making discovery and search easier, benefiting both the users and the developers. A new blog post by Microsoft employee Bernardo Zamora goes over some of the changes coming to the Store with Windows 10. This is certainly becoming important as Microsoft seeks to unify its Mobile and desktop stores and also as it rolls out Universal Apps.

First off, Microsoft is making significant changes to the way search works in the store, optimizing them for the different types of content found within the Store and also modifying the way results are shown:

  • Search algorithms optimized for apps, games, movies, and music rather than the general web search used earlier. These algorithms take a more holistic approach when evaluating an app’s relevancy to the search terms, factoring in attributes such as click-through rates in the Store listings, ratings and reviews, keywords, and total downloads.
  • Apps that customers have previously acquired are not currently filtered out of searches or app lists. As a result, customers may see apps they already own in the Store lists and recommendations. We are planning to remove previously-owned apps from the recommendations in a future update.
  • Lists will not include ‘top grossing.’ The lists available today include ‘top free,’ ‘top paid,’ ‘best rated,’ and ‘new and rising.’ The ‘top grossing’ app list, which is currently available in the Store on Windows 8, will be temporarily unavailable, with plans to bring back this capability in a future update.
  • Store lists always show Apps first, then Games, then Music, then Movies. When users search for items, the order of the results might not be the ideal, and that is also a focus area for future improvement.

There have also been significant changes to app listing and the web Store - I've listed some of the most significant below:

  • The URL for the web store has now changed to apps.microsoft.com - links for the previous desktop and mobile Stores will now redirect here;
  • Apps cannot be installed from the web store and must be installed via the device itself;
  • Customers who are logged out may see duplicates, as the Store displays both the desktop and the mobile versions of the app;
  • App version, device compatibility and last update date are no longer shown. Microsoft will continue to work toward bringing these features at a later date.

On the issue of Ratings and Reviews:

  • Migration of all the Ratings and Reviews. Ratings and reviews in the Windows 8 and Windows Phone Stores were migrated and will be visible to Windows 10. Ratings and reviews provided by customers using Windows 10 will not appear to customers using a previous OS.
  • New Ratings and Reviews Algorithm. The Windows 10 Store uses new review sorting logic to improve the customer experience in a variety of ways:
    • The most recent reviews with most ‘helpful’ votes are bubbled to the top of the list, ensuring comments on are relevant and useful for customers looking at your app.
    • The profanity detection algorithm has been updated and improved. As customers change the way they use profanity in reviews, the algorithm will adapt and further refine the way it detects inappropriate language.
    • New spam detection will detect and remove more spam before customers see it.
  • Review filter: Customers will be able to search reviews in both the Store app and the web Store. Filters can be set for star ratings, most helpful, newest, highest-rated, and lowest-rated.
  • Unified Ratings and Reviews for Linked Apps. The unified Dev Center dashboard treats linked Windows and Windows Phone apps as a single app with multiple packages. Ratings and reviews for any package in the linked app are applied to the app, regardless of whether the rating was provided on a Windows Phone app or a Windows 8.x app. In Windows 10, customers will see combined reviews and ratings for both apps in the new Store as well a unified star rating. Customers accessing the Store on earlier OS versions (e.g., Windows Phone 8.1) will not see the new combined rating. A device-specific filter is planned for a future update, enabling customers to see just reviews for their device type.
  • Ratings and reviews submitted in Windows 10 previous to July 15 were deleted. Ratings and reviews submitted by customers using the preview versions of Windows 10 were removed from the Store on July 15, 2015. This action was taken to ensure an app’s rating and reviews are not based on customer experiences with preview versions of Windows 10. Instead, apps will only show Windows 10 ratings and reviews generated after July 15. Depending on the ratings your app received in the Store preview, you may see your average star rating change.

While these improvements do provide a better experience for users and developers alike, the absence of critical features like app version and device compatibility indicate that the Store is still a work in progress. Developers will receive the updated .NET Native tools on July 29 and will also be able to submit their new Universal Apps on the same day but the lack of certain features may draw some ire from developers.

You can read the full post from the source link below.

Source: Microsoft

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