If you’re trying to give your Android users more features and increased compatibility with a wide range of different devices, Google Play Services is your key to doing just that. Originally designed to provide Android app developers with a simplified way to access features like the Google+ API, the service has long since expanded to cover a huge range of Google’s services. It was designed to allow applications an easier way to communicate with all of the online services that millions of users around the world are already using. Google Play Services continued that evolution across 2014, adding a wide range of new tools that you’ll definitely want to know more about.
One of the most interesting new forms of technology to be embraced by the public at large in 2014 is the concept of the virtual wallet. Though the technology to use a mobile phone or other electronic device to pay for goods and services at stores in your neighborhood is nothing new, Apple brought it to the forefront of the discussion by making it a standard feature in both iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones. Google Play Services added a new feature in 2014 to respond to that discussion in the form of increased support with Google’s own mobile payment service, Google Wallet.
Google Wallet support, also sometimes referred to as “Google Pay” in a clear allusion to Apple’s “Apple Pay” offering, gives app developers to build a convenient “Save to Wallet” button into their app should they so choose. The user can then use the app to split a Google Wallet balance, receive in-store notifications that are based on geography, scan digital gift cards or coupons and more.
Another new tool to make its debut in Google Play Services in 2014 includes increased support for wearable devices that are powered on Android technology. Though the Apple iWatch seems to be capturing the majority of wearable-related headlines, especially as it draws closer and closer to release, there are already a wide range of different wearable technology devices powered on Android. Increased compatibility for these devices in Google Play Services allows developers to create apps that can sync with code on these wearables automatically. They can also store huge amounts of data and even provide the end user with a convenient messaging interface.
Another notable tool in Google Play Services in 2014 allows developers to easily create varied and significant gaming experiences for apps running android. “Quests” is a feature that allows developers to create event-based challenges that players can use to compete with each other for a variety of different types of rewards. The “Game Profile” functionality allows users to take game data with them as they go, allowing points earned in games to be leveraged against their profile that resembles a character sheet from a role playing game. As a user completes more games, points are added to their overall profile and “Levels” are earned. The higher the level, the more cachet the gamer carries.
Google Drive Support
Finally, Google Play Services has dramatically increased its overall level of compatibility with Google Drive services in 2014. App developers can now add in functionality to apps like the ability to sort search results based on a wide variety of different factors, the ability for users to create offline folders to access files when no Internet connection is present and more. Developers can now also select any MIME type in the “File Picket” by default, saving a great deal of time moving forward.