Play store search weirdness.

Yesterday I submitted my new Android toy GAME BEAT DRUM to the Google Play store and discovered something strange.

I’m used to having to wait a few hours before apps become searchable on the play store but I had to wait over 24h before I could find it. Even then I could only find it by searching for my developer name or putting  GAME BEAT DRUM in quotes.

When you’re asking someone to check out a cool new app you’ve found on the Play store, how often do you enclose your search term in quotes? Me? Never. I assume that Google can handle search. You’d think they could, right?

When searching on the web version of the store I can see some strange behaviour. The search returns 70 results and starts pagination with 24 results per page. It gives me 3 pages of links at the bottom of the screen. However only two of those links actually work. It’s like the number of results returned is truncated somewhere before we get to page through them. We only get to browse about 40 results before the search breaks.

My theory is that the store doesn’t like the word GAME at the beginning of my app name. Search for quoted “GAME BEAT” or “GAME BEAT DRUM” and I appear as the only result. Search for GAME BEAT DRUM (my app’s NAME) and I don’t appear at all. Search for GAME BEAT and I /do/ appear somewhere far down the list (as you’d expect).

I’ve put a support request into the Google Play team and I’ll report back if I hear from them but they’re making it as hard as possible for me to ask any questions of them. I’m guessing they’ll never get back to me.

I’m thinking about changing the name of the app. I’m not really excited about the prospect of doing that. It’s a Game Boy inspired drum machine, I thought Game Beats would be a nice link back to the inspiration. Not to mention that I’d need to change a bunch of manifest details and reproduce icon and in app assets to have the name change make sense once you’d installed the app.

This was supposed to be a silly little toy that I released and forgot about, but it’s become something that I can’t drop just yet because in it’s current form, without a direct link to the store, no one will ever find it!

What a waste of time and effort.

If you have any ideas what’s going on here and would care to shed some light on this situation then please comment or drop me an email or tweet.

-thom

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3 Responses to Play store search weirdness.

  1. Tom Hume says:

    Can you change the name to GameBeatsDrum or similar? That might avoid anything they deliberately to do downgrade the word “game” in the title…

    • tacsgames says:

      This may be the solution. Was trying to avoid this because it would mean a new release and more asset production.

      • twhume says:

        Ah, I was thinking you could change it in the store and leave it alone otherwise 😦 Have you reached out via GauntFace/Mr Hyndman on Der +?

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