June 25, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Google talked about plenty of its popular products and services at the I/O 2014 opening keynote earlier today. Most notably, we caught a few first glimpses of Android L, its revamped UI, and its new permissions system. However, the platform’s progress isn’t limited to those with devices set to run the Android L developer preview. Rather, Google Play Services brings many key APIs and software advancements to users, regardless of target device platform version.
Today, Google has begun rolling out Google Play Services 5, which brings several key enhancements such as Android Wear support and improvements to Google Play Games such as Quests, Saved Games, and Game Profile. Play Services 5 also brings a new App Indexing API that allows you to find deep content within your native apps using Google Search, and the Drive API now allows you to sort results, create offline folders, and select any file type. According to the official announcement:
- Services for Android wearables — Your apps can more easily communicate and sync with code running on Android wearables through an automatically synchronized, persistent data store and a reliable messaging interface.
- Play Games services — Build a great gaming experience with Quests, which allow event-based challenges for players to complete for rewards, Saved Games (a snapshot API allow synchronization of game data along with a cover-image and description), and Game Profile (providing experience points for players).
- App Indexing API — Surface deep content in your native mobile applications on Google search and drive additional user engagement.
- Google Cast — Use media tracks to enable closed-caption support for Chromecast.
- Drive — Sort query results, create offline folders, and select any mime type in the file picker by default.
- Wallet — Build a “Save to Wallet” button for offers directly into your app; use geo-fenced in-store notifications to prompt the user to show and scan digital cards. Split tender allows payment to be split between Wallet Balance and a credit/debit card in Google Wallet.
- Analytics — Get insights into the full user journey and understand how different user acquisition campaigns are performing with Enhanced Ecommerce, letting you measure product impressions, product clicks, and more.
- Mobile Ads — Use improved in-app purchase ads and integrations for the Play store in-app purchase API client.
- Dynamic Security Provider — Offers an alternative to the platform’s secure networking APIs that can be updated more frequently, for faster delivery of security patches.
The rollout is scheduled to begin today and continue over the course of the next few days. Head over to the Android Developers Blog to learn more. And as always, we’ll be sure to share the APKs as soon as they’re available.
March 17, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
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.
January 9, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
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]