At Google I/O 2013, Hugo Barra, Product Management, Android announced an update to Google Play Services, a service that allows developers to integrate Google services, like Maps, into their third party apps. These updates bring more APIs to Google Play Services.
The first update is for developers who use Google Maps in their apps. The Google Maps API was updated to allow people to use the 3D MapsGL maps within apps.
Speaking of maps, three Location APIs have been integrated into Google Play Services. The first API is called the Fused Location Provider which acquires locations faster while using less power. The second – geofencing – allows developers to fence off virtual areas in maps. The third – activity recognition – allows maps to take different methods of transportation into account.
Next up, Google Play Services gets cross platform sign on via the Google+ sign on functionality. In other words, users who are signed into Google+ on an app will remain signed in via Google+ when moving to another Android device.
The final addition to Google Play Services are three updates to the popular Google Cloud Messaging platform. The first – persistent connection – ensures that servers maintain a constant connection to apps to deliver messages and notifications to players. The second – upstream messaging – allows apps to communicate with the server. The third feature will sync notifications across devices. In other words, dismissing a notification on an Android phone will dismiss the same notification on a tablet.
Alongside Google Play Services, Google announced a new family of APIs called Google Play Game Services. As the name implies, it’s Google’s version of Game Center for Android. It allows developers to integrate cloud saves, achievements, leaderboards and online multiplayer into their Android games. The live demo of the multiplayer was unfortunately cut short as the networking environment in the Moscone Center is unfriendly to wireless connections.