Google has announced via their Android Developers blog, that an update to Google Play Services is currently being rolled out, bringing with it a bevy of improvements to various Android and Google services.
The major focus of Google Play Services 6.5 appears to be Maps, but there’s also improvements to Drive, Fit and Wallet. In Maps, the biggest addition is that developers will now be able to incorporate a Maps toolbar into their app which can then let their users open Google Maps and get turn-by-turn directions to a point on the map. There’s also an option to display a ‘lite map’ or a thumbnail of an app which fits in better with an app when a full-size map isn’t appropriate.
Drive gets some updates, including the addition of both public and application private custom file properties to your Drive files. These properties remain persistent across other file editors, allowing them to be used in searches. File sync also gets some love, with Google now allowing you more control of when your files are uploaded, giving you options to choose when by network type (Wi-Fi or cellular), as well as the option to only upload when charging. You can also cancel pending uploads. This should help your battery life immensely.
The new kid on the block, Google Fit, also gets an update which makes it easier for developers to add pre-defined activity segments. This makes it easier to support pauses or different workout types.
Finally – Wallet. Though not available in a sense of NFC based Google Wallet payments, app developers can now add a ‘Donate with Google’ button to their app, to make collecting donations easier. This joins the ‘Buy with Google’ button in apps, and with the current Ebola outbreak being addressed with donation drives from the likes of Facebook and Google, this could be a motivator for Google to include the option for Wallet to be used as a payment stream.
Google is rolling out the SDK over the next couple of days and have promised to update the Android-Developers site as soon as it’s fully available.