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Google Play Services Updated With Changes To Maps, Wallet, Drive, Fit and GDM Libraries

November 18, 2014 - Written By John Anon

Not all of us are probably aware of what exactly Google Play Services does. Nevertheless, it is probably one of the most important apps we have installed. Play Services is not just a feature which consumes your internal space and processing. It also acts as a go-between for many Google services and other apps. In short, it allows for a smoother transition between apps and Google services like Maps, Drive, Wallet, yadda yadda yadda. As such, an update to Play Service might not sound as exciting as one to Gmail or the likes but that said, is just as important. And today the update to Google Play Services v6.5 is arriving.

So whats on offer? Well, most of the changes will be more of use to developers, as they will allow developers to include and integrate their apps into the Google ecosystem better. It seems the biggest Play Service update is coming in the form of Maps with two notable changes included. Apps that use Maps will now offer two quick buttons in the bottom right corner. One will allow direct connection to the Maps app for detailed directions while the other will allow a quick link to turn-by-turn directions. The second Maps update comes in the form of what Google are calling ‘Lite Mode’. This will in short allow the use of more lightweight looking maps. These will be smaller, simplified and allow for multiple Maps thumbnails to be shown on the screen at the same time. Besides Maps a number of other services are receiving updates although these are small in comparison. For instance, Wallet will not come with a ‘donate with Google’ button built in. Google Fit will now be more integrated with third party fitness apps, while Drive is being optimised for better file syncing.

If you are a developer then the last notable aspect of the update might be of the most interest to you. Previously, the Granular Dependency Management (GDM) library had to be downloaded in full when integrating Play Services with a developer’s app. It seems Google is now offering a fragmented version of the GDM library. As a result, developers will now be able to include only the libraries which are relative to their app. This will result in a much more lightweight app. To find out more about any of the changes then click here to head over to the detailed developer blog. The update has reportedly already begun rolling out to devices. However, if you don’t want to wait to update your Play Services then you don’t have to? You can download the latest version to install like any other app here.