We reviewed Google Home’s new Assistant app discovery features yesterday. Today, we are looking at the new rating system for Google Assistant apps. Amazon rolled out its Alexa skill store and ratings in December 2015. At the time, there we just over 100 skills and now there are more than 18,000. Time from launch to a skill store with user ratings: 13 months.
Google now has over 500 Assistant apps (i.e. the Google equivalent of an Alexa skill) and has rolled out its app store and user ratings just 10 months after general availability of Google Home and about six months after Google Assistant became widely available on smartphones running Android OS. Discovery is one challenge, offering users a signal of skill quality is another. The ratings systems are designed to provide one data point based on user reviews.
How to Find the Skills and the Ratings in Google Assistant
To find the Google Assistant app ratings you simply need to tap the icon in the upper right of the screen, select an Assistant app from the catalog and then tap on it. The star rating appears right below the Assistant app name. If you scroll down, you can input your own rating of 1-5 stars with a single tap. You can also see this in a list view which is quite handy.
As we saw yesterday, you can also navigate to these pages from Google Home. You just go into the menu and select “Explore.” This will only work if you also have Google Assistant on your mobile device. The key thing to understand is that Assistant is now the workhorse of Google’s voice ecosystem. New third-party Actions or apps integrate with Google Assistant and Google Home is simply hardware that accesses Assistant to fulfill user requests.
What Do Ratings Mean?
Ratings will be both welcomed and feared by Google Assistant app developers. They will be welcomed because this will be the first opportunity to see user feedback for published Assistant apps. This feedback can be invaluable in helping improve the app experience. Ratings will be feared because low ratings, even those caused by issues of the Google NLP, can lead to low long-term user growth. The other fear will be that there is currently no way to offer feedback other than a star rating. There is no commenting so it’s anybody’s guess why particular ratings are set at a specific star level.
Consumers will both enjoy having an easy way to navigate to and discover new Google Assistant apps while also seeing what other users think about them. Most of the ratings we reviewed were actually on the low side. There are a number of 1-star and 2-star averages. This is similar to the Amazon Alexa skill ratings. While developers may be new to these voice-first platforms, users have high expectations.