In this case, Google says that it has “enhanced [its] search and discovery algorithms to reflect app quality”. Google has found that the majority of users that leave 1-star reviews for apps complain about instability issues, leading to frequent crashes.
As a result, Google is using a combination of artificial intelligence and human curation to analyze poorly performing apps and downrank them accordingly. So, developers that strive to provide the best experience for users will consistently see their apps rise to the top of the fray when a search is performed. Developers that have neglected to improve their app performance will likewise be ranked lower.
“Think about that last time you experienced an app crashing, failing to respond, or rendering slowly,” said Google Play Product Manager Fergus Hurley last month when talking about the new Android vitals dashboard in Google Play. “Consider your reaction when checking the battery usage on your own device, and seeing an app using excessive battery. When an app performs badly, users notice.”
In the end, this serves as an incentive for developers with poorly-rated apps to step up their game, and everyone stands to benefit. Google helps to shed the stigma of Google Play being loaded with “junk” apps, developers can improve their apps to improve search ranking (which is a financial motivator), and the user benefits by having higher quality apps to enjoy on a daily basis.