Will Verduzco · Jan 9, 2014 at 08:00 pm

Google Play Services 4.1 Brings Turn-Based Multiplayer, New Drive API, Improved Ads, and Better Google+ Integration

Google is in a seemingly never-ending battle against Android platform fragmentation. They’ve approached this problem in many ways, such as KitKat’s focus on lower end devices and the decentralized update process for key developer APIs through Google Play Services.

Now, Google has begun rolling out an update for its Play Services to version 4.1. This comes just a little over two months after the release of Play Services 4.0. Today’s update brings a few new features that may be of importance if you’re an app or game developer.

The biggest addition is that Play Games now supports turn-based multiplayer. This allows game devs to use Play Services for asynchronous multiplayer support for up to 8 players. This allows players to take turns, with each round’s data uploaded to Play Services and shared with the other players automatically.

There’s also a developer preview of the new Google Drive API, which allows app developers to more easily read and write to files on Google Drive. There is also offline support, whereby the changes are synced with Google Drive when Internet connectivity is reestablished.

The update also brings improved support for mobile ads with DoubleClick for Publishers, DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and Search Ads for Mobile Apps. Furthermore, you can now provide Google with your users’ locations to deliver location-based ads for improved monetization. Finally, the update makes for a better Google+ sharing experience, as it allows for a better auto-complete with suggested recipients from Gmail contacts, on-device contacts, and Google+ contacts.

Are you an app developer currently using Google Play Services? Has this decentralization helped your fragmentation struggles? Are you excited about these new changes? Let us know in the comments below!

[Source: Android Developers Blog]


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