Today the new version of the all-important Google Play services framework was announced through the official Android developers blog. This new version is a major update, hence the version number 7.0 and brings about numerous new features, APIs and optimizations to existing features, which will allow both developers and users to make the most of their applications, mobile hardware and the services Google provides.
For anybody not exactly sure what Google play services is or what it does – it is probably best known as the app that helps you seamlessly update your other applications through the Play store. It is actually far more powerful than a simple update delivery system. It is actually a whole framework, or collection of functions or API’s which allow developers to easily access various hardware features on your device, as well as remote Google features, such as maps, authentication and others within their applications.
The new version of the platform will eventually enable the creation of new, more-powerful and advanced Android applications as well as optimization of the software you already know and use. So what exactly can we look forward to in Google Play Services 7.0?
First up Google has decided to simplify working with user location. The current FusedLocationProviderApi does a very good job of automatically picking out the best location method in a current situation and delivering a mixed location, which is as accurate as possible. This, however, does not guarantee that the user has ensured the best conditions for the location to be taken, by enabling certain location options in the device. The new API will allow developers to pop-up actionable notifications to request that certain options be enabled. And this is all done in a simple, unified way.
Speaking of location, the Places API will also be getting a few new features. With the new Play services developers can request information on places at a given location. This will allow access to a lot more than simple latitude and longitude and make for a richer experience. Getting nearby places and adding or searching within the result is also going to be much easier.
Creating fitness apps is also going to be easier and less resource hungry. The new Fitness API will now allow seamless access to various sensor information for sports tracking, as well as easy access to the Google Fit open platform and all the history and data it holds. Running fitness apps in the background will hence become a lot less resource hungry.
Other services that Google will be delivering in a friendlier manner include mobile ads, through AdMob and Analytics, as well as easier Google Play Games integration and a generally more convenient authentication process, thanks to OAuth 2.0. Applications which are created up to code will also be able to present a lot more of its internal content through App Indexing, allowing Android and Google’s local search mechanisms to be better aware of what data each installed app has to offer.
Google plans to roll out the new Google Play services 7.0 over the new couple of days, so be sure to check for an update within the Play Store and if you are a developer, stay tuned as the SDK will be coming shortly then after.