Google Releases Google Play Services 5.0
Recently released Google Play Services 5.0 includes a number of new features, such as Android wearable services APIs, Dynamic Security Provider and App Indexing, along with updates to existing APIs. The new release should already be rolling out worldwide to Android devices running Android 2.2 or better.
Google Play services 5.0 introduces a set of APIs to communicate with apps running on Android wearables that provide the following features:
- An automatically synchronized, persistent data store.
- A low-latency messaging interface that lets developers sync data, exchange control messages, and transfer assets.
Google Play services 5.0 also adds support for a dynamic security provider through an API that apps can use to replace the platform's default secure networking APIs. This will allow to react promptly to issues found in the default secure networking APIs, which already include fixes for the Heartbleed issue recently identified in OpenSSL.
The App Indexing API, another new component in Google Play services, provides a way to notify Google about deep links in native mobile applications. This will allow the Google Search app to provide fast and easy access to inner pages in apps.
Furthermore, new APIs have been added to Google Play game services:
- Quests, which are a new set of APIs to run time-based goals for players, and reward them without needing to update the game.
- Saved games lets you store a player's game progress to the cloud for use across many screen.
More enhancements introduced by Google Play services 5.0 are the following:
- The Google Cast SDK now includes media tracks that introduce closed caption support for Chromecast.
- The Google Drive API adds the ability to sort query results, create folders offline, and select any mime type in the file picker by default.
- Google Mobile Ads adds a default implementation for consumable purchases using the Google Play In-app Billing service.
The current release of Android Play Services should not be confused with Android L, the next release of the Android SDK, recently announced at Google I/O, which should be available in fall 2014.
Google Play services is a proprietary SDK and set of APIs for Android devices. As mentioned above, it can be automatically updated through Google Play Store on any Android device that runs Android 2.2 or higher. This allows Google to update certain aspects of Android independently of the operating system itself, in an effort to reduce fragmentation. On the other hand, Google Play services has also been described as a part of Google's strategy to "turn the 'Android App Ecosystem' into the 'Google Play Ecosystem'," thus reducing the openness of the platform.