Google IO 2013

Android Developers Clean Up at I/O

May 15, 2013 - Written By Randy Arrowood

Google I/O really isn’t the SWAG party that everyone makes it seem, it’s a developers conference, and today Google revealed a lot of pain relief for the developers in the room.

Google Cloud Messaging
GCM is a backend service that allows app developers to send push messages from their servers to users that have their app installed. Google said today that they deliver an average of 17 billion Google Cloud Messages a day, with a 60 ms latency. That seems impressive enough, but today Google added the following features.

  • Persistent Connections – this allows the developer to maintain a constant connection between their app servers and the GCM service. This should further reduce the time that it takes for messages to land on your device.

  • Upstream Messaging – GCM was a one way only, downstream messaging service before today. Now, messages can be sent from the app on the users device back to the server.

  • Sync Notifications – Users won’t be forced to dismiss notifications from their tablet that they’ve already taken action against on their phone. Notification states are synced across devices.

Gaming Service
The Google Play Gaming service is pretty much what the rumors and apk teardowns revealed. It will allow game developers to offer the following new features in game:

  • Cloud Save – This will allow users to end a game on one device, and continue the game on another device from the point where they left off.

  • Achievements – Trophies are big in gaming and now Android gamers can earn trophies for their game progress and display them for all of their Circles to see.

  • Leaderboards – There are two types of leaderboards. The first is a public leaderboard that allows you to see your rank compared to all players of the game, and the second shows your rank against the people in your Circles.

  • Multiplayer – You’ll be able to send and receive invitations for your friends to join you in multiplayer capable games.

All of these Gaming Service capabilities will be available on Android, iOS and the web.

Android Studio
Not being a developer I wouldn’t have known how big a deal Android Studio was if the developers in the room hadn’t caused such a stink when it was announced.

Based on the Community Edition of the IntelliJ IDE, the biggest feature to me seemed to be the ability to visualize your app across a number of different screen sizes and see changes in real time across those screen sizes.

Another feature shown was the ability to see color selections and images in the margin of the editor window.

Google Play Developer Console Improvements
An array of what seemed to be popular announcements for the Dev Console were also introduced, and very warmly received.

  • Optimization Tips – Analyzes your apps performance in the Play Store and makes recommendations for ways to improve your app and revenue.

  • App Translation Service – Localization is huge and Google rolled an app translation marketplace right into the Dev Console. Developers can shop for a translator for their app, upload files to be localized and pay for the service right from the Dev Console.

  • Referral Tracking – This will provide Google Analytics metrics inside the Dev Console.

  • Revenue Graph – Quick way to see how much money you’re money you’ve made.

  • Beta testing and staged rollouts – This will provide developers with the opportunity to roll out alpha and beta versions of their app to a defined list of testers, and to stage that rollout to a defined percentage of users.