Google today has pushed out a small update to the Play Store that gets rid of the ability to thumbs down a review. In its place is the ability to thumbs up and report as spam.
The update was likely enabled server-side as users are seeing the update on the current version (6.0.5) of the app. The report as spam option is accessible via an overflow button and streamlines a user’s choice of what to do with a comment. While the previous thumbs down button was more subjective in nature, a spam message is much more obvious. Giving something a thumbs up helps rank reviews higher as by default the Play Store sorts by ‘most helpful first’. This change applies to reviews for all types of media.
In recent months, Google added a ‘reviews highlight’ section for app reviews that looks through all the posted reviews and lists the most frequently written phrases. As such, it is quicker to get an idea of what an app is like and if there are any common issues with it. Of course, users can still sift through all the reviews.