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Microsoft makes changes to improve app visibility on the Windows Store

Microsoft has announced some changes to the Windows Store on Windows 10 in order to make app rankings more accurate and, more importantly, increase the visibility and discoverability of quality apps. According to Microsoft, the algorithms for both ranking and search have been adjusted and developer support is keeping an eye out for any further issues. Here's the full breakdown from Microsoft:

  • More accurate rankings: The algorithm used to rank search results has been adjusted to give more weight to app quality signals such as the number of downloads and ratings. When searching for apps or games, customers now see apps with more downloads and higher ratings earlier in search results.
  • Search enhancements: The algorithm to index apps has been updated to make apps easier to be discovered, specifically when searching by app name and related keywords. 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 .
  • Support process adjustments: Developer support is reviewing tickets opened for app search and visibility issues, to confirm they are solved by the two updates mentioned above or to identify any remaining gaps before a ticket is closed.

In addition to the above changes, Microsoft says that it will start including app reviews posted to the Windows Store by Windows Insiders on the Slow Ring starting in March. Previously, those review weren't included because those on Insider builds may have a different experience than those on release builds, but Microsoft says average ratings differed between the two in any statistically noticeable way.

All told, the changes listed above should go a long way towards remedying some of the issues developers have encountered in making their apps discoverable. However, if you're a developer who is still encountering problems with the Windows Store's search, it's probably best to keep submitting support tickets.

Source: Microsoft

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

90 Comments
  • Finally ... Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Yes I can finally search Leos fortune and it shows up now!! Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Does it work with mobile? Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Yup Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Still needs way better filtering and search options, as does the Xbox One Store.
  • There should be an algorithm that erases old reviews and scoring but only every 3 updates. Maybe there is, is there?
  • Hopefully we can get subway surfers
  • This would be pretty stupid, why would I update a 4 star app if I risk loosing a lot of good reviews? What could be done is asking to the users if they want to update their review since the app has been updated. But they can't even notify the user that the store automatically updated the apps (requested by devs for ages) forget about an automatic "ask for rereview". Maybe in 2020.
  • There's a feature in the Mac app store that I remember and it shows "Reviews for the current version" first and you can view them for older versions too if you wish. Not sure if it's on the iOS App Store as well as I don't use it. It would be nice to have something similar in the Windows Store. Not sure if it should affect the overall rating or not though, you wouldn't want an app to drop from 4 starts to zero or one just because nobody updated their review
  • I've developed two apps for windows 10 and most of the reviews were from mobile users and got deleted by this stupid system, hope they can restore them because small devs get many reviews at app-launch if I don't get them back these apps are going to die in the dust.
  • I don't think it's stupid at all. A lot of old bugs could have change the user experience, just because they're using a beta OS. That's the right thing to do. Even Apple does it with iOS preview builds. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • +1
  • So why delete the 5 star reviews?
  • I see a number of positive reviews in Dev centre for mine that aren't shown in the app store, which is quite annoying.
  • Yess! I hope it's like seriously, way improved.. I hate hearing people talk crap about the store so much, though I understand it.  Please, please actually be improved.
  • Hope these changes will bring back those frustrated developers that put so much work into their apps only to be screwed by the Store's inadequate search functionalities.
  • Yes, it was so infuriating to know that Microsoft botched the app search so horribly. I created a tennis app with TENNIS in the freaking name and tennis is the keywords. Yet in the search on a phone it would not show up while stupid chick pic apps would in its place. To make it works phone searches only showed 50 results!!! Microsoft does the dumbest sh_t sometimes.  I was on the phone with them infuriated and no one had any answers for me other than "until your app gets more downloads it will not show up in searches". My retort was "how in the F is it supposed to get downloads if it does not show up in searches!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". Theirs was "have your users search for your app with quotes which will force the store to bring your app up in search results." HOW IN THE F DOES THE AVERAGE JOE KNOW TO DO THAT!!!
  • They should remove the spam, not make it less discoverable. Windows Store is full of garbage.
  • They have to get those available app numbers up somehow. This way, we won't likely see all the garbage but, they can also talk about how many apps are in the store. It's a win-win!
  • I know why they allow it, but I don't think it's better. Look at this! https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CaenvXwWAAA5NMe.jpg:large And the picks for you section sucks too.
  • Don't see that as I did the same search. Looks like it's fixed.
  • I took this screenshot from the Windows Store website 2 weeks ago. I'm glad it's fixed, but the store has plenty of cases like this. At least it seems they're doing some cleaning.
  • Ridiculous...
  • Better to be known for low numbers but high quality apps than large numbers of absolute crap. But I guess we can see which microsoft prefers....
  • It certainly is, but do you think the tech media cares? All they look is totals.
  • And the Google Play store isn't?
  • So what? Because Google allows all the trash on the Play Store, Microsoft should do it too? I want the Windows Store to have some quality standards. I coudn't care less about the Play Store, Android and Google.
  • Quality later, number first. as people will look how many apps available not a good quality one..just read youtube comment on Windows device you will see "windows store no apps", barren, desert, dead man land, not many apps, no snapchat, no google apps etc.. if comment on quality mostly about MS and FB android app not other apps. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • But you said it yourself. People ask for specific apps actually, they don't care about sum total of all apps in the store. They say "no apps" because the popular apps they look for are not there. Thousands of spam apps won't change that fact at all.
  • Nope i don't say anything..you try yourself replying to those people comment on YouTube. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Difference is Google Play has so many quality apps that the crap apps are usually never seen or they're at least pushed far down enough.
  • Exactly.
  • Pure ****, as google is.
  • Microsoft needs to remove those garbage web apps ppl have made. It would harm their own stores impression.
  • They made a tool to develop garbage: AppStudio.... Keep stdents out of the store....
  • Watch it, web apps can be good if done right. I have several web apps on the store with 4-5 stars and they perform well. Please don't generalize.
  • I dont need that. >_< What I want is that I can to see again the date of last update of an app/game and that I can download an app/game of the store manually. That is what is most needed .
  • It was in Windows Phone. Windows Mobile removed it because it also highlighted how out of date some apps are. I hate it too but, I understand the logic. Hopefully, as the app situation improves, they'll reapply that info.
  • And then Microsoft's YouTube website link app is still on the top place!
  • Because it's the 'official' app, despite being one of the worst solutions.
  • Microsoft should remove that garbage app.
  • But that "Official" YouTube app also have poor rating and review. It's acceptable to have it within the first page of Search results but 3rd-party YouTube apps have way better ratings and satisfaction from its users that they should be on top and competing. Same also for Instagram and Twitter that though they're actually official, there are 3rd-party that deserves better search ranking simply because they're plain better than the official ones. I think Microsoft should create a Store Collection of 3rd-party alternatives, so that people will have quality apps even though the official apps lacks. Virtually all reviews that I saw and read mentioned the lack of official Google apps nor quality apps, but didn't even bother searching alternative apps that are actually better. It's a sad fact that the platform still have these "abandonware" apps, but at least I think Microsoft should make a step and try to promote the hardwork of these dedicated developers who make quality 3rd-party alternatives that gives boost to the sorry-state platform.
  • Well thats why they have edge so they dont have to provide an app for yourtube
  • How does that YouTube app even work?
  • There was a rather nice WP 8.1 YouTube app that Microsoft developed, but Google forced them to pull it and they dropped back to the web wrapper. I just use the browser for YouTube on my phone, and used to use Hyper for YouTube on tablets in the past, but tend not to bother now as I don't mind the browser experience at all.
  • I still remember that news and it's still cringy and childish for Google to give so many excuse just not to support the platform, even though Microsoft already take the first step for them. Unfortunately, Google wins regardless since the platform lacks even the official YouTube that hurts the platform (even though 3rd-party exist). I think Microsoft should try to make YouTube app again for the 2nd time and try make it public. If Google still refuse to do so, then if the news spread out, that could at least give a jab and they probably allow it, or not at all if the tech mass media doesn't care about the issue. The lack of proper official YouTube is a major detractor to the platform. Forget Snapchat, that app potentially can loose it's trend gradually, but YouTube is simply now a de facto internet video for internet users, it's now became a sort of rule to have one.
  • Nice to see this. This is one big complain among developers. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • And rating should be world wide. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • would definitely be nice to choose to show ratings for 'my region' or 'all regions'
  • Yeah, we need worldwide ratings by default and an option for regional ratings. I don't why they can't make Store a rich experience in the first place. Discoverability is just one of the main issue in Windows Store at the moment.
  • That would be a nice addition to see included.
  • Yeah on that way the rating is more accurate
  • If some app is not translated to some language and it's available to that country that speaks that language, that app will get bad reviews for that :/ Don't know if I want that mix.  But with @queentut16 idea by default would be right.
  • This almost implies that searching by name will actually show me something relevant?!? I'm still suspicious.
  • "but Microsoft says average ratings DID NOT differ between the two in any statistically noticeable way." Please fix :) Edit: not trying to be a grammer nazzi, but this changes the sentence meaning :)
  • "not trying to be a GRAMMAR nazzi, but this changes the sentence meaning :)" You should be heard... and corrected ;) Heil Grammar!!
  • Finally, now maybe people can find my awesome apps. New app idea: Pooculator. Yay or nay? (Awesome slogan to go with it: Making the world a better place, one poo at a time.) Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • I want my phone to make coffee but poo is alright also
  • It's a good news. But I think this step has been taken by Microsoft very late.
    As long as the user doesn't spend money on the wrong app, it is fine for them. But what about users who purchased IAPs or the app itself for a fake imitation app? They are the biggest losers.
    I lost money on one of the imitation Google maps app. I purchased a big amount of IAP on "Gmaps+" by "map remedy" thinking that it is a good app by a good developer and that I am helping the developer.
    But a genuine good developer must have at least one contact option to contact them? Right? Isn't that a reasonable expectation. This app developer called "map remedy" has ZERO ways to contact them. We don't even know who that person is. No website. No nothing. All my money gone down the drain. And no way to claim refund too.
    This made me very very very sad.
  • Contact microsoft and request a refund. I did that once and they gave me my money back. The developer had two versions one listed for 8.1 and one for 10 but they both showed up in the W10 store. I bought the wrong one. So I contacted them and they refunded me. Here is the link (contact the account and billing department) https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/contact/menu/
  • I purchased a song once and was charged for an album. They refunded the full amount without too.much pleading.
  • Hope this helps devs port apps over. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Awesome! This could be one of the most important updates for the store!
  • This very basic - and necessary - functionality comes so late in the game as to be laughable. That's assuming it even works.
  • Yes. It must be quite embarrassing, or it aleast it should be. I have been complaining to Microsoft since I first installed Windows 8. 3+ years later is too long.
  • Yeah, this has been missing functionality since Windows 8 (both desktop and mobile), not sure why it took three-ish years to implement, like you said, assuming it even fixes the problem. Another issue that's still existing is the sheer number of spam apps, riding on the name of a single brand name existing app. Both of these, probably haven't helped endear mobile developers to Microsoft's platform.
     
  • These Store issues is also why the developers are not much too enthusiastic to invest making apps to the platform in the first place. Windows Store is really poorly designed that is just too barebones and feels half-baked. Now we got tons of spam apps that everytime I search something in Windows Store, I saw alot of fake apps that simply ruins the store experience. They're too obvious that I was thinking if Microsoft people even use the Windows Store. Glad that they're trying to solve the problem now, but it's also a little late that the platform is already tarnished with lack of quality and quantity of apps. 
  • I just hope to see a few apps make it to the store. The windows phone google app finally update, YouTube, and maybe Starbucks.
  • This! Finally
  • This is a welcomed improvement, to put it kindly.
  • That's well overdue, tbh. Hope it really improves the experience on the store. It's frustrating when you search for an app that you very well know exists only to find it missing in the search results.
  • Good!! Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Good, now rest of the world is eagerly waiting for Windows10 official release for rest of Lumia phones
  • Finally! This has been a problem for nearly a year and noone listened. Even tipped this place and they didn't report anything
  • It has been a problem since the store was created with windows 8
  • Nah I had no issues on windows 8. Keywords worked perfectly.
  • That's bacause you are better than all of us.
  • Nah, its because it was working fine
  • It's a start. Next step, actually take measures to remove some of the garbage in there rather than just making it harder to find in search.
  • Yeah I'm tired of seeing fake apps. Some take screenshots of other apps, then when you open it it looks like a dump
  • It still needs a lot of work. Update history?
  • Finally! They realize that discoverability of Windows Store needs fixing and looks like they're trying to fix it this time. There is alot of work to do in Windows Store and this is a good start.
  • Great! Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Ohh! That's may be the reason windows store crashing constantly from yesterday.
  • This is good, I remember an article earlier of developers complaining their apps werent showing up. Where microsoft answered that it wasnt up to the mark thats why it isnt visible - i kinda doubted that till an extent anyways. Developers should be given their basic right as to at least their apps be shown in search, easily.
  • It feels very US only these type of changes as ive seen no change except for lack of interest in publishing new apps to cdn. store
  • great
  • Good
  • Does this apply to windows store, because it's been really hard to download an app from the store Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • The Windows Store needs a huge overhaul along with an update to the UWP framework.
    I believe that both are kinda underpowered for what they are meant to be..