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Google Play Services 7.5 Adds New Capabilities, APIs, and More

| by Sergio De Simone Follow 21 Followers on Jun 02, 2015. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

At its latest Google I/O Developer Conference, Google announced the rollout of Google Play Services 7.5, which delivers new capabilities such as Smart Lock for Passwords and Instance ID; new APIs for Google Cloud Messaging and Google Cast; and supports accessing Google Maps API on Android Wear devices.

Smart Lock for Passwords

Smart Lock for Passwords adds a new CredentialsApi API and UI to streamline the login process by allowing to retrieve saved credentials and store them for later use. It is an evolution of Chrome Password Manager. For more details about Smart Lock for Passwords, check InfoQ's additional coverage.

Instance ID, Identity, and Authorization

Instance ID is a cloud service that provides unique IDs to uniquely identify an app instance. This could be used, e.g., to know "which app instance is sending a request." Instance ID can also be used to generate security tokens to authorize third-party apps "to access your app's server side managed resources," and to verify an app's authenticity.

Google Cloud Messaging

The new Instance ID feature is fully integrated with Google Cloud Messaging, a service to send information to apps' users and from the device to a server. Furthermore, Google Cloud Messaging provides a new API so an app can subscribe to one or more topics to help address the messages to the right audience. Finally, Google Cloud Messaging also adds a new GcmNetworkManager to make it easier for an app to sync data with its server when new information is there. GcmNetworkManager will deal with common behaviours such as "waiting for network connectivity, device charging, network retries, and backoff," and will optimize background scheduling of networking operations.

Google Cast

Google Cast, Google's solution to casting content from a device to a TV set or speakers, makes it easier now to manage display mirroring through the new Remote Display API and also improves the RemoteMediaPlayer by adding a media queue to it to ensure seamless media playback.

Google Maps and Google Fit

As mentioned above, Maps API can now be used on Android Wear devices.

Google Fit, Google's solution for building fitness apps, allows now to use the RecordingApi for "gathering estimated distance traveled and calories burned data."

Google Play Services is a background service and API that has system-level privileges and is upgradeable. As InfoQ reported, "with this concept, it is possibly for Google to roll out new functionality within days after it was announced," without this requiring an update of the underlying Android version. Since Play Services are entirely under Google control and cannot be modified by any OEMs, it plays a key role in mitigating the software fragmentation problem.

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