July 24, 2015 11:51 am

Changes to Store listings and search algorithms

As we near the launch of Windows 10, I want to share with you some changes coming in the new Windows Store: lists and search algorithms, a new web Store, changes to the app listings and updates to ratings and reviews. These changes may impact how your apps appear in the Store.

The Store has been built from the ground up for Windows 10 providing for scalability, and the ability to support a single Store for apps, plus a wider variety of content types: apps, games, music, video, and TV (and more content types in the future).

This new Windows Store experience will continue to evolve, so as you explore, please send feedback as you see areas to improve, using the “Windows Feedback” app (search for it in the Start menu.)

Store listing and search algorithms

Windows 10 uses new algorithms to determine search results and top lists for the Store (optimized for more digital content types). This change has an impact on how Store lists are shown and search results are returned for Windows 10:

  • Search algorithms optimized for apps, games, movies, and music rather than the general web search used earlier. These algorithms take a more holistic approach when evaluating an app’s relevancy to the search terms, factoring in attributes such as click-through rates in the Store listings, ratings and reviews, keywords, and total downloads.
  • Apps that customers have previously acquired are not currently filtered out of searches or app lists. As a result, customers may see apps they already own in the Store lists and recommendations. We are planning to remove previously-owned apps from the recommendations in a future update.
  • Lists will not include ‘top grossing.’ The lists available today include ‘top free,’ ‘top paid,’ ‘best rated,’ and ‘new and rising.’ The ‘top grossing’ app list, which is currently available in the Store on Windows 8, will be temporarily unavailable, with plans to bring back this capability in a future update.
  • Searches in the Windows Store Home page always return Apps first, then Games, then Music, then Movies & TV. This ordering of the results might not be the ideal, and that is also a focus area for future improvement. Searching for items inside a category works correctly, for example in the music tab, will return Music items first.

We’ve started with existing Windows 8 and Windows Phone data to help with list formulation and search results at launch, though this is a brand new Store and the algorithms take some time to mature and develop to their full capabilities. As a result, your app may experience some ranking changes in both Store lists and search results.

To help mitigate the impact, we highly recommend evaluating your app’s description and keywords to ensure they are optimized for the lists and search results you’d like your app to appear in. Irrelevant keywords can hurt your app’s rating as the algorithms detect inaccurate keywords, the app could potentially drop in the rankings.

If you notice any obvious errors in Store lists or search returns, please contact Developer Support to open a ticket.

App listings and web Store

The product description pages have several changes resulting from the integration of Windows and Windows Phone apps. We also launched a new web Store that for the first time is able to show not only apps and games, but also music, movies and TV shows. As all of these capabilities are new, some of the previously existing functionality is not available in this initial launch.

  • Windows Phone screenshot auto-rotation orientation no longer available. Windows Phone Dev Center enabled developers to submit vertical screenshots and Dev Center would rotate them. The new Dev Center does not have this ‘auto rotate’ filter. So you might see some Windows Phone screenshots appear vertical instead of horizontal in the Store. The fix is easy: re-submit the screenshots rotated with any image editor, then upload to Dev Center.

Bernardo4

  • New web Store and URL redirects. The previous Store URLs apps.microsoft.com and www.windowsphone.com now redirect customers to the new web Store www.microsoft.com/store. Existing URLs and links continue to work and automatically redirect customers to the new Store.
  • Installing apps from web Store not available. Installing apps to a Windows Phone when using the Store in a PC browser is not supported. Apps must be installed from the device itself.
  •  Logged out customers may see both Windows and Windows Phone apps. If a customer is not logged in to their Microsoft account on Windows 8.x or Windows 7, the web Store will show both the Windows and Windows Phone apps. This means the customer may see duplicate apps (for non-linked apps).
  • URL to show all apps from one publisher no longer available. The URLs that pointed to all apps from a single publisher in Windows Phone (e.g. https://www.windowsphone.com/en-US/store/publishers?publisherId=xxx) are no longer supported. Customers can select a publisher’s name in an app’s product description page to view a list of the publisher’s apps.

Bernardo2

  • You might need to adjust your app description. Existing Windows 8.x apps will also be available to all Windows 10 users, so make sure the description does not indicate that the app only ‘runs on Windows 8.x’ or similar description. The Store will try to detect the OS of a user, and will adjust which apps to show or indicate if an app is not compatible with a user’s device.
  • App version, last update date, and device compatibility not visible in the app page. The app description pages do not include which devices the app works on, nor does it show the app version and last update date. We are working to bring these popular features back in a future update. One recommendation is to add the app version in the app description when you update your apps.

Ratings and reviews

The Windows Store includes updates to ratings and reviews that enable the store to show Windows and Windows Phone apps together and support more content types. These changes impact all apps, though will be most apparent for apps that were previously linked in the Windows and Windows Phone Stores.

  • Migration of all the Ratings and Reviews. Ratings and reviews in the Windows 8 and Windows Phone Stores were migrated and will be visible to Windows 10. Ratings and reviews provided by customers using Windows 10 will not appear to customers using a previous OS.
  • New Ratings and Reviews Algorithm. The Windows 10 Store uses new review sorting logic to improve the customer experience in a variety of ways:
    • The most recent reviews with most ‘helpful’ votes are bubbled to the top of the list, ensuring comments on are relevant and useful for customers looking at your app.
    • The profanity detection algorithm has been updated and improved. As customers change the way they use profanity in reviews, the algorithm will adapt and further refine the way it detects inappropriate language.
    • New spam detection will detect and remove more spam before customers see it.
  • Review filter: Customers will be able to search reviews in both the Store app and the web Store. Filters can be set for star ratings, most helpful, newest, highest-rated, and lowest-rated.

Bernardo3

  • Unified Ratings and Reviews for Linked Apps. The unified Dev Center dashboard treats linked Windows and Windows Phone apps as a single app with multiple packages. Ratings and reviews for any package in the linked app are applied to the app, regardless of whether the rating was provided on a Windows Phone app or a Windows 8.x app. In Windows 10, customers will see combined reviews and ratings for both apps in the new Store as well a unified star rating.  Customers accessing the Store on earlier OS versions (e.g., Windows Phone 8.1) will not see the new combined rating.  A device-specific filter is planned for a future update, enabling customers to see just reviews for their device type.
  • Ratings and reviews submitted in Windows 10 previous to July 15 were deleted. Ratings and reviews submitted by customers using the preview versions of Windows 10 were removed from the Store on July 15, 2015.  This action was taken to ensure an app’s rating and reviews are not based on customer experiences with preview versions of Windows 10.  Instead, apps will only show Windows 10 ratings and reviews generated after July 15. Depending on the ratings your app received in the Store preview, you may see your average star rating change.

We have built the new Store experience from the ground up, so if you discover any issues with the new Store (both the app and the web) please contact Developer Support. In addition to the changes I described today, we will be adding new capabilities to Dev Center with the Windows 10 launch. You’ll want to check back next week to learn more.

Updated July 26, 2015 10:08 am

Join the conversation

  1. hello sir , really disappointing that Windows Store ( new ) don’t show

    – current version of apps and games

    – last update date of apps and games

    is it because you all know that no big developer gonna update their apps and some other big dev. don’t bring

    that’s why you removed these two

    it’s available in all big major selling OS phones

    APPLE IOS and Google android OS

    – CURRENT VERSION

    – LAST UPDATE DATE

    PLEASE BRING IT BACK ASAP

    • Or send developers to most consumer friendly company ( GOOGLE )

      Google never say give feedback , then people will vote and then we bring feature

      and still they are fully developed since starting

      and you still developing and removed major basic feature in Windows Store

      – current version

      – last update date

      ( bring it like this : when we press phone : it shows current version and last update date of phone and when we press : store shows of pc )

      really a big disappointment !!

      Instagram not updated since ages ( still on Instagram beta )

      facebook didn’t bring their official app ( made by facebook ) in windows phone

      snapchat also not interested

      twitter lacking all big features ( android and ios app always update fast )

      and Motorola already told they don’t interested in making windows phone .

      even with windows 10 : no big developer interested as because even basic features missing

      • @Aaakash, we know these two fields are very important, so we are bringing these fields back soon, as mentioned in this blog.
        Bernardo Zamora
        Microsoft

        • THANKS . Hope atleast on 29 / july / 2015 or in few days it come back

          very important for both OS , including web store ( universal )

          and sir , one more error ( like windows phone 8.1 )

          it don’t remember our last app position

          we have to scroll back to app : everytime when we press back to app or game list

          please asap fix it

          and add ( downloading speed + current mb + total size of mb ) in downloading page of store in Lumia

          really needed in modern era

          please sir , listen

  2. Using an iOS device for a while now, I’ve noticed a lot of small touches they do well.
    * Would be great to filter reviews to the current version by default, if it has enough reviews.
    * Wish it was easier to see recently updated apps, especially with automatic update being a thing.
    * Would like to easily see release notes for each version, especially from the downloads screen. Related to the above suggestion.

    Overall, this look like great improvements! Looking forward to hearing what else is being done.

  3. @Bernardo pls pls pls make ‘Change Log’ required field. Do make developer enter change log before they can submit any update for the app. It sucks getting update without knowing exactly what’s in the update.

  4. hey , ability to delete apps or games from my library permanently from our cloud server of our MS A/c ( as deleting our purchased apps – give warning ( then press ok ) and remove

    so that we can time to time refresh our my library ( as we only want major apps we like

    or add some favorite section ( so that we can latter or keep our most using favorite apps ) in that list

  5. Please bring back the ability to install apps from the web store and install apps manually from the web store. Please don’t take away any more conveniences we already had. I always feel like you take away something every time you give us something new. It’s a never ending cycle. You give us something new and take away something we had, then we have ask for it back and when we get it you take away something else.

    • I do hope that users understands that doesn’t download more app from the web store is the way defense developer’s rights again reverse engineering uses from piracy, now theses bad doesn’t take more access the build package. It’s make Windows platform more attractive for developers, special OSX and iOs, and you, Windows users, at soon will have more and the apps that still waiting for.

      • You can download the apk files for apps in Google play. I don’t see that stopping developers from releasing their millions of apps on that platform. And Android is number 1 in Market share. Your comment makes no sense. And your English is terrible. These features are what user’s want and Microsoft should listen.

  6. Why the store says apps like Lumia Camera, Lumia Creative Studio and Lumia Selfie aren’t available anymore? I’m using Windows 10 Mobile (Build 10166) on Lumia 930.

  7. We need the option to install apps on Windows 10 Mobile directly from the web portal, it is my primary way to install apps!

    • I do hope that users understands that doesn’t download more app from the web store is the way defense developer’s rights again reverse engineering uses from piracy, now theses bad doesn’t take more access the build package. It’s make Windows platform more attractive for developers, special OSX and iOs, and you, Windows users, at soon will have more and the apps that still waiting for.

  8. Why was the ability to see all apps by a developer removed? That was so handy to see all apps made by large developers like Gameloft or Microsoft. Please bring it back :-(

  9. some tile apps are not yet scaled proper while you look trough this new store anywhere at some point, please. it really grinds my gears, there were a fuzz when good developers had to suffer from some others copy cats devs and so on ! please be more careful to details like that
    punish thus who are really ruining the ecosystem with their ugly un-scaled tiles

    And you should also let people know when apps are updated at least give as an mute notification via action center somehow I would probably opt my own settings via Notification & Action section but damn that should be sweet

    And BY THE WAY

    Krishan Lal said:
    hey , ability to delete apps or games from my library permanently from our cloud server of our MS A/c ( as deleting our purchased apps – give warning ( then press ok ) and remove

    so that we can time to time refresh our my library ( as we only want major apps we like or add some favorite section (so that we can latter or keep our most using favorite apps) in that list

    WE definitely NEED THIS, I bet this would save a lot of time

  10. Please bring back the functionality to queue apps for installation on Windows Phone from a web browser to trusted devices. I have also been asking since the launch of Windows 8 for the same feature to be available for Windows tablets and PCs. If Google Play can do it, why not Windows Store?

    • I do hope that users understands that doesn’t download more app from the web store is the way defense developer’s rights again reverse engineering uses from piracy, now theses bad doesn’t take more access the build package. It’s make Windows platform more attractive for developers, special OSX and iOs, and you, Windows users, at soon will have more and the apps that still waiting for.

  11. Wow…this new store cancels more features than it brings. Really bad…and I mean REALLY! Is that how you have spent your time in developing that? No Infos more, no install from Browser, Ratings can not be differentiated from PC and Mobile Version, auto-rotation canceled (why?). This could of been so good, if you just would stop canceling existing features.

    “We are working to bring these popular features back in a future update”
    Yeah…we all now, what that means if MS says something like this.

    “One recommendation is to add the app version in the app description when you update your apps.”
    Oh…like…you do? Oh wait….

  12. Very disappointing my dedicated Morse code apps for windows phone now rank way below apps that have next to nothing to do with Morse code. One actually just has the text “no Morse code” in the description!! My app having a very specific audience with very specific tags is now a liability on it ever being found. Perhaps if I bolt on a candy jewel game…

  13. This sucks big time. Well done Microsoft you’ve just managed to create another android customer. The “new look” app store is garbage. The old one was bad, but this one takes the biscuit. No wonder Windows Phone has such a tiny share of the mobile phone market. I bought a phone with an SD card slot, then Microsoft removes the ability to store maps to the SD card – which genius decided to do that? Now I can longer download phone apps to my PC so that I can install them manually – that’s the final straw – I’m going to buy an android phone and to hell with Microsoft.

  14. I do not get it why can not you let customers to install apps from the Browser ?

    Moreover the most important thing is that you still do not let customers read review from any region

    on Google play and App Store on IOS people can read easily review from their own region and other region like USA or UK

    the benefit is most of the people review in English and sometimes in my region most of the people do not use apps from the store or review them and customers can easily miss good apps or even think an app is bad because it got 2-3 stars and only 3 review and when you look at the same app on the USA store it 180 degrees difference and the app got 4-5 stars and 800-1000 review

    • I do hope that users understands that doesn’t download more app from the web store is the way defense developer’s rights again reverse engineering uses from piracy, now theses bad doesn’t take more access the build package. It’s make Windows platform more attractive for developers, special OSX and iOs, and you, Windows users, at soon will have more and the apps that still waiting for.
      Yours others claim, me to.

    • Absolutely right Shaked. Thank you for stating this. As a person who is not living in his own country, I feel that this needs to be fixed immediately. I go on here and all the reviews are in the local language, and I feel like there’s a world of information that’s being hidden from me. It’s very irritating to me to only see reviews from this locale. Why have they done this to the app reviews? How soon can they fix this major problem.

  15. I do hope that users understands that doesn’t download more app from the web store is the way defense developer’s rights again reverse engineering uses from piracy, now theses bad doesn’t take more access the build package. It’s make Windows platform more attractive for developers, special OSX and iOs, and you, Windows users, at soon will have more and the apps that still waiting for.

  16. I published my app in the category “Food and Nutrition” but the store windows phone it is “a way of life”, where it will pop up in a new category? it just does not see, and only search specific keywords it is found, because of this minimum download the application.
    The application has reviews and evaluations, even a domestic purchase, but the application in the list or anywhere is not displayed. both made the list, I do not understand. Technical support can only send advertising – does this mean that windows is now up simple applications do not really need and only invest in advertising?

  17. Now that you have changed the app URL/GUID, how can we find the original GUID?

    Most, if not all, MDM sulutions use the original GUID to whitelist or blacklist apps in the store. Without the old GUID this is not possible.

    Example for Adobe Reader:
    Old: 134e363e-8811-44be-b1e3-d8a0c60d4692
    New: 9wzdncrfj2gh

  18. This is ridiculous, the windows phone store should work like it use to a few month’s ago before all these new changes, where people could find your app just for any given keyword

    I also have in my app description a couple of words explaining what my app can be used for, and these keywords are also in my list of separate given keywords and my app can still not be found using these search keywords

    Honestly Microsoft want more apps, but what is the point if they can not be found any more from doing just a normal keyword search as we had before, typical Microsoft breaking something which was working fine, as usual

    Please feed this email to the relevant people so that we can improve the store again, and hopefully have our working keyword search back as before etc, thanks

  19. Hello,
    I know the changes in the store algorithms but my app TextNote is not to be found at all in the Windows 10 store for a while now. Not by searching on keywords and not in any category. I can only see it is in the store by searchin by name (TextNote). This while much lesser quality apps are findable easy.
    Ik tried everything. I ported the app to a windows 10 UWP app and changed the keywords but nothing happened.
    I just do not understand why TextNote is not in the store. The download used to be about 50 a day and are now reduced to nearly zero. Really disappointing.
    I am not the only one with this problem I heared. Can someone please explain this please?
    Best regards,
    Eugène.

  20. I have an app called “Juice”. It is a DIY mixing application for people who vape electronic cigarettes. Now, one of my keywords is “Vape” (as this is much more likely to be searched for than “Juice”). Can you please explain to me why when i search “Vape” my app doesnt show up AT ALL?

    This isnt a ranking, or prioritisation, or smart algorithm at work so I dont buy those excuses for one second. This is ignoring my keyword completely. Its not like there are even a lot of results when you search for “vape”. There are about 13 results total! Want proof? here is a link:

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/store/search/apps?q=vape

    This is just not good enough. You guys are going downhill in terms of allowing indie devs to actually get any notice. So you want people to just name their apps ridiculous keyword-filled names? Because that seems to be the only way to get my app up in a search result unless you search for “Juice” directly…and noone is going to search for that who vapes.

    Do you see the issue? The keywords do absolutely nothing.

    I will give a further example that proves my point that this is simply a new thing. I have an app in the windows store that was submitted prior to the new store opening. It has a keyword “akai”. When I search this keyword, the app shows up:

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/store/search/apps?q=akai

    (8th result, app is called “Beats Yo”).

    Basically, any app that was uploaded before the new store rolled out you seem to allow the keywords to work. Any new app the keywords are completely ignored. This needs to be fixed or you will continue to lose indie devs.

  21. Why have you removed the “Show More” section in the categories? I have a an app in the Shopping category and to browse apps in this category I have to use the “Top Free” section and this only lists around 100 apps based with your new algorithm, needless to say mine is not one of them even though my app ranking is at 15 in Windows 8 store.

    In Windows 8 store the Shopping category’s Top Free section has 400+ apps, while Show More section has 700+ apps. Why limit us to only be able to browse 100 apps and we have to specifically search for the rest? I understand my app ranking is different with the new algorithm, but the app should still be discoverable when browsing. Users don’t always know what they are looking for, and thus they will never search for it.

  22. This new keyword search algorithm is a shocker. It could not pick up my app despite it ranked paid top 300 overall on windows 8.1 store (paid top 10 in category list) . Issues raised with support team a few months ago, still unresolved. The app was un-discoverable on Windows 10 store due to being excluded from the keyword search result, and that the Windows 10 store app listing only contains a few apps. Since than, my app has recovered much of the lost download purely by user referral. and yet, the keyword search result still refused to list my app. In my view, this new search/list algorithm is nothing but another specular failure.

    • Today 27-Oct-2015,
      directed to this by a so-call support person?
      None of my keywords work on search.

      Yet, same keyword, brings up windows 10 and 8. Apps
      Some are old, some are new.
      The answer, i was given: Windows 10 App do not use keywords.
      This is a lot of HOT AIR.

    • I just want to add another voice here.

      I have successfully submitted my first UWP app to the Windows Store. It has been in the store for about a week at this point. I can find it if I search for the name of the app (Sight and Say), but I can’t find it when searching on the key words I submitted in its description (sight words, flash cards, early education, Dolch, etc.). So far no one has downloaded it, and I don’t expect that will change.

      This is not acceptable. When Microsoft announced Windows 10 and proclaimed their support for the Windows Store, I stopped consulting to start developing apps for the Windows 10 Store.

      My plan from the beginning was to develop a framework that would allow me to create high-quality UWP apps very quickly that leverage Azure as a backend. I would create multiple useful apps that would start generating revenue and give me breathing room to expand both individual apps and my library of offerings.

      Now that plan is in jeopardy. It depends on people being able to find my apps when searching for them in the store. Perhaps I will spend time publicizing some of my apps through social media, and hopefully I will make enough money to hire someone to assist with that marketing. That’s my goal.

      But here’s the thing. I am a developer. I am not a marketer. I want to write apps. That’s what I’m good at, and that’s what I want to do. What I don’t want to do is spend half of every day tweeting, writing blog entries, posting on forums, and generally trying through sheer force of will to let the world know that my app exists. I am a developer, and I am one of the people you are hoping to attract to write apps for your systems.

      So please don’t make it pointless for me to continue. I find it completely unsurprising that no one has downloaded my app, since no one who is interested in what I have to offer will be able to find it, no matter what they search for. Note that my wife is a curriculum coordinator at a private school that uses Surface tablets. She has said from the beginning that their big issue is not being able to find apps on the store that will work with their curriculum. Now she is realizing that there may actually BE apps out there like mine, but that she can’t find them because of the search algorithm. Microsoft talks up the fact that more than 120 million users have upgraded to Windows 10. I would love to have access to that user pool, not my 500 friends on Facebook and 17 Twitter followers.

      I’ve worked through my savings for the past six months preparing my first app, and I’d like to start the second one. Right now I can’t imagine why I would do that instead of going back to consulting. My wife is wondering the same thing. My daughter is only 17 months old, but I have to think if she were a little older she would wonder what the **** daddy is doing working so hard to write an app that no one is going to know about.

      Help me help you, Microsoft.

      • Hi David. I went through your comment today. Microsoft has made some changes recently to the store. Just wanted to know if the issues that you are pointing above is solved or not.

  23. Seems like keyword search is not working at all. I tried searching for all keywords I have given for my app in windows store 10, but none works. Worst it doesn’t search partial word, eg if application name have Matching as word, I cant search it when using word Match…
    Please improve the search algorithm and resolve the defects in keyword search, as none of keywords search working is not acceptable.

  24. Windows Store on all 3 different platforms is broken. On Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Windows 10. No matter what keyword I use from my app the results do not show my app. There are keywords that do not show any results at all. Are your serious?? Im using a keyword that no one is using but my app still does not show up?????? Are you serious??!!! This is just wrong. Plain wrong and a deal breaker for Windows Development. I had about 40 apps in the store that made about 1500+ downloads a day everyday but now my downloads are about 100. Microsoft you need to fix this store search problem fast cause I wont sit around making apps for a store that no one downloads my apps from because of this pathetic search algorithm. No one can find my apps.. They used to about 4 months about before Windows 10 and then bam. No downloads, no results, nothing. This is so bad that I went out and bought an Android phone and Xamarin. Fix this asap or more developers will leave as well.

  25. The Windows 10 Store app does not contain the same apps as the web store version at microsoft.com/en-us/store/apps/windows.
    The App version is gutted compared to the web store version, 90% of the apps are missing. At first I though it was your new algorithm causing my apps and most other to vanish from the store, but they are all there ranking and being discovered correctly in the web version!

    This is a serious bug in the Windows 10 store and you are alienating your app developers, FIX IT!!!

  26. “Irrelevant keywords can hurt your app’s rating as the algorithms detect inaccurate keywords, the app could potentially drop in the rankings.”

    I don’t see how an algorithm can detect inaccurate keywords.

    Case in point. My app is called “quyre”, an old english variant on quire, which originally meant a pamphlet or notebook created by by folding a sheet of paper four times. Given the variations in pronunciation, typos and so on I’ve included “quire”, “choir” & “query” as keywords. They seem relevant to me but given that none of them return my app when searching in the store I guess the algorithm disagrees.

    In fact none of the keywords entered against my app during the rather broken submission process will match against the app.

    The store is the cherry of despair on the dismal cake that is UWP development. Microsoft needs to wake up and realise just how poor a job they are doing and maybe fix some of the 86 issues I have currently under discussion with people in Redmond.

    • @Christopher wrote, “The store is the cherry of despair on the dismal cake that is UWP development.” Well said. Microsoft, are you listening?