Earlier last year Google demoed an impressive new app and service combination at their annual I/O event held in San Francisco. I’m talking about Google Play Games (the app), and Google Play Services. The addition of this wonderful feature to the gaming experience on Android has opened up many doors that were previously closed, like an easy way to see who plays the same games as you all while having access to integrated leaderboards and achievements, and even access to G+ profiles of other players. Thankfully, sometime shortly after its unveiling we started to see Play Games and Play Games Services enter the playing field, and the gaming experience on Android has been infinitely more enjoyable and exciting because of it.
As of today, Google has updated the Play Games Service, to add in some useful new features and changes that will make using it that much more exciting than before. Version 4.1 adds in support for turn-based multiplayer, as well improved battery life for the users that have chosen to leave Google Location Reporting on and intact, and they have also added in a preliminary Google Drive API. There have also been some minor tweaks and improvements to ad targeting, (not as exciting, but useful we suppose) and enhancements to the Google+ portion of Play Services integration. The update may be showing up for some and if that’s the case, go ahead and download the update now. The updates have only just started rolling out however and will take some time to reach everyone so remember that patience is a virtue in this situation.
What might be the best part about this update at least for the gamers, is the turn-based multiplayer feature, which will allow game developers to build up asynchronous games that you can play with friends or family. Other things like auto matched players and the ability to play with up to 8 players in a game are part of this. The other tweaks that Google has included here are the Drive API, which you can read and write files with, making those files available across multiple platforms including the web. Since Drive is also now one of the available offline mode apps (which was introduced back at I/O 2012) from Google, you can even access these files while you’re offline and as soon as you reconnect it will sync to your Drive account. The rest of the changes are mostly the boring stuff, but if you want to read the full changelog, you can see it over at the android-developers blog. What do you think about the changes made to Play Services? Let us know in the comments if you use Google Play Games, and if you enjoy games that offer Play Games Services more than others.