Google’s Android Developers blog has announced the completion of the rollout to Google Play Services version 7.8 this week, which brings a couple of neat new features to Android.

The first is the recently announced Nearby API is now live, with the Nearby Messages. What is Nearby Messages?

Nearby Messages introduces a cross-platform API to find and communicate with mobile devices and beacons, based on proximity. Nearby uses a combination of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and an ultrasonic audio modem to connect devices. And it works across Android and iOS. For more info on Nearby Messages, check out the documentation and the launch blog post.

Google has also announced a new Mobile Vision API, which comes with two components, the Face API and the Barcode API. The Face API allows developers to ‘find human faces in images and video’, while the Barcode API allows apps to ‘recognize barcodes in real-time, on device, in any orientation’.

Google notes in their blog on the Face API, that:

This is not a face recognition API. Instead, the new API simply detects areas in the image or video that are human faces. It also infers from changes in the position frame to frame that faces in consecutive frames of video are the same face. If a face leaves the field of view, and re-enters, it isn’t recognized as a previously detected face.

The Barcode API supports both 1D barcodes (AN-13, EAN-8, UPC-A, UPC-E, Code-39, Code-93, Code-128, ITF, Codabar) and 2D barcodes (QR Code, Data Matrix, PDF 417) with more information in the most recent Android Developers blog.

Google has also announced expanded notification to support for ‘localisation in Android’ in Google Cloud Messaging (GCM). As a pre-cursor to the launch of Android M, Android Devs have also announced the addition of high and normal priority for Google Cloud Messaging giving more control over message delivery.

Google Play Services 7.8 has now completed the rollout to all Android devices, for Android developers the SDK has been updated and is now available to download through the Android SDK Manager.

Source: Android Developers.
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    Shane Wilson

    Anyone know how to enable Nearby. Mine seems to be always greyed out on my Nexus 5 running 5.1.1