The words “update” and “Google” have certainly been on the minds of tech lovers all over the world as of late. People are eagerly awaiting the imminent release of Android L, which is pegged to be Android’s most radical change to date. In the meantime, Google has released a few updates in recent days that feature some tweaks and additions to Google Play services. One of these additions has been rumoured for several weeks in the Android world as people have heard whispers about an upcoming update to the Google Play Games app called the “Nearby Players” feature. After some clever folks did a closer inspection of the most recent Google Play update and a few random reports from Google Play Games users in places like Italy and Mexico who have received the update, it appears that Nearby Players is pretty much good to go. As of now, there has been no official word from Google regarding the rollout and function of the Nearby Players feature so, for the most part, people are left to piece together a few clues to figure out exactly how it works.
From what people can tell, the Nearby Players feature makes use of a device’s location settings (think GPS, WiFi etc.) to locate people nearby who are playing the same Google Play games as you. The people you get matched up with can either be a random person nearby or someone you may know from your Google + circles who is in your vicinity. Similar functions are available for gamers on the Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita platforms. From there, you and your fellow gamers can take full advantage of the many multi-player games that exist in the Play Store. However, you do not have to wait to be matched up with a fellow player geographically as there is a search feature that allows users to find other gamers that are online anywhere in the world. If you’re not into taking advantage of the multi-player features of your favorite games then there is a privacy option as well that will let you do your own thing.
As previously noted, to take advantage of the Nearby Players feature you will have to have the most recent version of Google Play Services but, as the rollout seems rather random, you may not even have it then. If you have the update and the Nearby Players feature shows up please let us know in the comments below and, if not, sit tight as Google will no doubt have this feature more widely available in coming weeks.