Posted 01/10/2014 at 8:45 AM
Posted 4 years ago
Google has announced its first major update of the year to its Play Services, adding a host of new features including turn-based multiplayer support, ad targeting, Google+ improvements, and a new Google Drive API.
Google Play Services version 4.1 will be rolled out gradually to Android users over the coming weeks and months, with developers able to download the SDK to get to work with the new APIs once the update is available to all.
The majority of the new features introduced by Google are catered towards developers; however, in the end, it will be the users that benefit. This is particularly the case with turn-based multiplayer support and cloud storage improvements to Google Drive.
In 4.1, Android developers will now be able to build asynchronous games that allow anywhere from two to eight players per game. When one player takes a turn, information will be instantly uploaded to Play Services and sent to the other gamers.
Google is also providing a developer preview of the new Google Drive API, which includes the ability to read and write files for availability on the Web and all devices. In a great move, the cloud service will now provide offline access so that users can work without a Web connection to edit files and have them synced automatically once they are reconnected to the Internet.
In terms of ad targeting improvements, Google Mobile Ads SDK will now support DoubleClick for Publishers, DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and Search Ads for Mobile Apps. To help developers better monetize ads, a publisher-provided location API to deliver locations to Google when requesting ads has also been added to the changelog.
Finally, improvements have been made to Google+ sharing, with enhanced auto-complete and suggested recipients from Gmail, device contacts and Google+.
Announcing the update on its Android Developers blog, Google said that the new update would also improve battery life for users with Google Location Reporting enabled.