For some time now, Google has been combating Android fragmentation by delivering key developer services and frameworks independently of Android OS versions through Google Play Services. And over the past year and a half, we’ve seen several key updates roll out, which have enabled developers to target a wider range of Android devices. Now with Play Services 4.3, Google has incorporated a few additional developer APIs and updated some of their existing services.
New in Google Play Services 4.3
New to Play Services 4.3 are Google Analytics, Tag Manager, and the Address API. Analytics and Tag Manager existed as standalone technologies previous to Play Services 4.3, whereas the Address API is all new.
Tag Manager allows one to change various app characteristics on-the-fly such as application colors, without requiring a formal update push via Google Play. And of course, Analytics allows developers to acquire detailed information about their users such as how many end up converting from free users to paid users.
The all new Address API aims to make online shopping easier by allowing developers to request access to saved addresses. This can, for example, be used when filling out delivery information for your online orders.
Updated in Play Services 4.3
The new APIs in Play Services 4.3 aren’t all that Google has been working on. Google Play Games received a rather significant update with the introduction of game gifts. This new feature allows users to send in-game requests to other users in their circles or through player search. These requests can be used to ask for an in-game item or power-up. It’s unclear at this time whether the feature will allow users to simply send gifts directly.
The Drive API, which was recently added into Google Play Services two months ago, also received a bit of a face lift. New in Play Services 4.3, developers can now pin files that are to be kept up to date locally. This allows users to keep using a connected application, even if there is no connectivity. Play Services 4.3 also supports app-specific folders, where temporary files can be stored without being visible to the user. Finally, the latest version of the Drive API allows developers to implement conditions based on when a file or folder is changed rather manually querying and consuming more battery.
Google Play Services 4.3 brings quite a few significant improvements and additions to app developers. But as always, it’s up to developers to make the most of the changes and incorporate the new functionality into their apps. Are you an app developer looking to use some of these new features? Let us know in the comments below!
[Source: Android Developers Blog]_________
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