This week is the annual Google developers conference, Google I/O, where the company showcases a number of improvements and new projects to the world. One of these developments is a new version of Google Play Services, which itself was announced and released at the Google I/O 2012. Google Play Services is the underlying framework that contains a number of important piece of code and Application Programming Interfaces, APIs, working as an “enabler” for either core Android or third party applications. Examples of this include the Google Cloud Messenger, which is Google’s push messaging system opened up and available to any developer who wishes to use it. Google Play Services is pushed out to devices automatically and silently in the background so many customers will not be aware of the application.
Along with the other announcements made at Google I/O, we have an update to Google Play Services, bringing it to version 7.5 together with an update to the Software Development Kit. Android developers now benefit from a new selection of APIs. Reading the notes for version 7.5 provides something of a taste as to the functionality improvements we are due to see between now and the full release of Android M, when we will see another change. Let’s take a look at the new features.
The first new features to detail is Smart Lock for Passwords, whereby the device is able to retrieve password saved into the Chrome Password Manager as part of the login process. Android will then save these credentials back into the Chrome database for use on other Android devices and Chrome browsers. This will streamline the process of moving between different devices. Another new features is Instance ID, a means for developers to recognize each individual application instance rather than simply the device instance and so is useful in showing developers to identify and authorize actions even if users don’t have accounts set up the device. Google has added App Invites as a beta. This function provides developers with a framework to invite their contacts to install a preview, or beta, version of a given application through a common user interface. These invites may be sent via either SMS or email. And finally, the last two improvements are to firstly incorporate Google Maps on Android Wear, whereby providing developers with the means to bring full fledged navigation, or games using Maps, to our wearable device. Lastly, the Google Cloud Messaging system had been given attention in this release with improvements designed to reduce battery usage.
It’s too soon for developers to have released applications that may benefit from the new version of Google Play Services, but it is only a matter of time. We will let you know when we hear of any new developments.