Google announced a number of enhancements to Google Play Services at their 2013 I/O keynote today. These new features will roll out to all Android devices running Froyo and above, today.
Play Services is rolling out three new location-specific APIs today.
Fused Location Allows the use of whatever available sensors to get the best location, including mobile location, wifi positioning and GPS sensors. Hopefully, it’ll also give you a better location fix when you’re trying to hack that portal in Ingress. It also introduces a new background location service that uses 1% battery life per hour.
Geofencing will allow applications find out when you go to specific locations or areas and perform actions. This is a much-requested feature, and should make developers’ lives easier.
Activity Recognition allows your device to recognise what you’re actually doing – eg, running, cycling, driving. It doesn’t need to turn on the GPS, and will use your device’s accelerometer. (Given the current US focus on texting-while-driving we might find better support for rejecting incoming calls or silencing notifications automatically while driving in a future Android release)
Google Cloud Messaging
Google’s version of Apple’s “push notification” service is currently delivering 200,000 messagers per second – if it takes a few seconds to get your notifications this is probably why 😉
Cloud Messaging is getting an upgrade today to allow your device to send messages back upstream, providing apps a new way to send communications to servers.
It’s also adding Notification Sync, so dismissing a notification on one device will cause it to go away on others. No more
Google Play Games
As reported several times now, Google is rolling out a set of new services to support gaming. The gaming services didn’t get a lot of airtime in the keynote – there’ll be other sessions to go into this in more detail, but the previous leaks have been proven to be accurate.
The new services are not just limited to Android – they’re iOS and Web compatible too to enable cross-platform gaming.