After years of stalwart service, Google has announced that it will be shutting down the Google Play Top Developers program by the end of May. The program was used to recognise and leverage app developers who used to consistently release top quality applications on Google’s Play Store.

Google had introduced this feature in the May of 2011 with an update to the Motorola XOOM Android tablet which was one of the first Android devices to run on Honeycomb (Android v.3.0).

The reasoning shared by Google behind this was a survey by the company conducting research with developers and consumers throwing up results that they prefer the search-giant to focus on individual applications and games instead of highlighting the entire team/organisation.

With the shuttering of the program at the end of the month, it is expected that all its highlights and badging art would also be removed from the Play Store. This is most likely not the end of the company’s involvement in highlighting the best on offer though, with the letter stating,

After taking a look at our existing app recognition programs, the Google Play editorial team has decided to focus its efforts on recognizing high quality and innovative apps and games. As a first step, we will be closing the Top Developer program and removing the badging from the Play Store within 30 days. We have exciting plans to recognize more of the great apps and games you create and will be sharing updates soon.

This means that the company already has a follow-on program in place that would replace the existing framework and make it a more transparent system which will not discriminate against the individual developer or a bigger team.

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