Microsoft today announced a few changes to the Windows Store. The company said it has improved search rankings for apps and games in the store and added that more reviews should be showing up there soon.
Reviews from people participating in the Slow ring of the Windows Insider Program, which provides preview builds of Windows 10 updates, will be allowed in the store starting in March, according to a blog post by Bernardo Zamora, director of the Windows Apps and Store at Microsoft. Until this point, no reviews from Windows Insiders have been allowed in the store.
“However, now that Windows 10 is available to the general public, the average ratings from customers running Windows 10 Insider Preview builds are not statistically different from ratings given by customers running final released versions of Windows 10,” Zamora wrote.
Windows Insiders in the Fast ring will still not be able to post reviews in the store “to protect developers from negative reviews that may be due to preview builds of Windows 10 rather than app quality,” Zamora added.
The addition of select Insider reviews could boost the value of the Windows Store. And that’s important, as Microsoft wants to keep users engaged with native, approved apps and games, courtesy of the Store. This could also be positive news for developers who want to see their apps purchased and used. Currently, more than 200 million devices are running Windows 10 — one-fifth of Microsoft’s stated goal of 1 billion.
In addition to its intent to surface more reviews in the store, Microsoft has updated the in-store search engine, which now weights the rankings of apps and games in search results by factoring in the number of downloads and the ratings they have received. Plus, search results are relying more deeply on app names and keywords. But Microsoft is making these adjustments within reason: “The Store will continue to limit search visibility for apps that don’t meet quality requirements, such as those that abuse keywords or are considered spam, as described in the Give Your Apps More Visibility blog,” Zamora wrote.