Google Play Services

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Google Play Services is a proprietary background service and API package for Android devices.[1] When first introduced in 2012, it provided simple access to the Google+ APIs and OAuth 2.0, but has since then expanded to cover a large variety of Google's services, allowing applications to easily communicate with the services through common means, being internally referred to as simply GMS.[2]

Included tools[edit]

Google Play Game Services[edit]

Google Play Game Services can be used by application developers to allow a more competitive and social experience through the use of leaderboards, both public and between friends, achievements and multiplayer sessions.[3] Saved Games API is available to quickly sync game saves on Google's cloud infrastructure as well.[4]

Location APIs[edit]

The Location APIs abstract away specifics about the location technologies, providing Geofencing APIs for scheduling specific actions upon the user entering or leaving specific geographic boundaries, Fused Location Provider for acquiring location information with as reduced power usage as possible and activity recognition for allowing applications to adapt to the current action of the user (e.g. cycling, walking, etc.).[5]

Google+[edit]

The Google+ platform provides single sign-on, allowing the user to be automatically authenticated inside applications providing a more personalized experience, and sharing options using Google+.[6]

Maps[edit]

Google Maps Android API allows applications to include Google Maps or Street View without the need to open a separate application, allowing full control over the camera and providing means of adding custom markers and overlays over the map.[7]

Drive[edit]

Google Drive Android API exposes Google Drive to be used as a storage structure, providing easy lookup and syncing of documents along with various other tools for manipulating the files.[8]

Cast[edit]

Google Cast Android API adds casting functionality to allow Android applications to display content on TVs using Google Cast, additionally providing various helpers for common audio, video and image types.[9]

Ads[edit]

Google Mobile Ads integrate advertisements into applications, allowing simple monetization though over a million Google advertisers and sophisticated ad targeting based on factors such as user location.[10]

Wallet[edit]

Google Wallet Instant Buy allows purchases of services and goods to be done from a Google Wallet, providing a streamlined flow of just a few taps with minimized data entry done by the user.[11]

Other[edit]

Google Play Services provides other APIs such as the Google Fit API, Google account authentication methods and Google Analytics APIs.[2] Google Play Services is used by almost all Google apps and have system-level powers to provide multiple internal features.[12]

Version history[edit]

  • Version 3.1 was released on May 16, 2013.[13]
  • Version 3.2 was released on August 20, 2013.[14]
  • Version 4.0 was released on October 31, 2013.[15]
  • Version 4.1 was released on January 9, 2014.[16]
  • Version 4.2 was released on February 3, 2014.[17]
  • Version 4.3 was released on March 17, 2014.[18]
  • Version 4.4 was released on May 7, 2014.[19]
  • Version 5.0 was released on June 25, 2014 with rollout finishing on July 2, 2014.[20][21]
  • Version 6.1 was released on September 16, 2014.[22]
  • Version 6.5 was released on November 17, 2014.[23]
  • Version 7.0 was released on March 2, 2015.[24]

Adoption[edit]

Google Play Services is automatically updated through Google Play on devices with the Google Play Store application installed running Android 2.3 or newer.[1] This means Google can do fast, silent rollouts of updates, providing new functionality to old devices without any interruptions from the OEMs, avoiding the fragmentation of the platform for which it had become infamous .[25]

Concerns[edit]

Android Open Source Project (AOSP) was announced in 2007, and has since then functioned as the baseline system for all OEMs and firmware modifications such as CyanogenMod. Various apps are being switched over to being released on Google Play with a closed-source model, having their AOSP counterparts being abandoned. As many of the Google apps are developed intimately tied with Google Play Services, they do not function without them being available. This means that any party interested in distributing Google Play Services as a part of the Google apps package must acquire a license from Google, which more often than not results in a contractual agreement locking the manufacturer in to Android. Additionally, enthusiasts who are not able to or are not interested in signing such an agreement, but are interested in modifying the Android system are required to either opt for not using Google apps (such as YouTube and Gmail) and 3rd party apps that use Google Play Services (such as including Google Maps) or for simply obtaining the Google apps package either from a device which has them pre-installed or an unofficial source.[12][25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Google Play Services". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Package Index". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Google Play Game Services". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Saved Games in Android". Google Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Location APIs". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Google+ Platform for Android". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Google Maps Android API v2". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Google Drive Android API". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Google Cast Android API". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Google Mobile Ads". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Google Wallet Instant Buy". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Ron Amadeo (September 3, 2013). "Balky carriers and slow OEMs step aside: Google is defragging Android". Ars Technica. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  13. ^ Greg Hartrell; Angana Ghosh; Francesco Nerieri; Francis Ma; the Google Play services team (May 16, 2013). "Social Gaming, Location, and More in Google Play Services". Android Developers Blog. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  14. ^ Android Developers (August 20, 2013). "Google Play Services 3.2". Android Developers Blog. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  15. ^ Android Developers (October 31, 2013). "Google Play Services 4.0". Android Developers Blog. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  16. ^ Android Developers (January 9, 2014). "Google Play Services 4.1". Android Developers Blog. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  17. ^ Android Developers (February 3, 2014). "Google Play Services 4.2". Android Developers Blog. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  18. ^ Android Developers (March 17, 2014). "Google Play services 4.3". Android Developers Blog. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  19. ^ Android Developers (May 7, 2014). "Google Play services 4.4". Android Developers Blog. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  20. ^ Jamal Eason (June 25, 2014). "New in Android: L Developer Preview and Google Play Services 5.0". Android Developers Blog. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  21. ^ Android Developers (July 2, 2014). "Google Play Services 5.0". Android Developers Blog. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  22. ^ Android Developers (September 16, 2014). "Google Play Services 6.1". Android Developers Blog. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  23. ^ Ian Lake (November 17, 2014). "Google Play services 6.5". Android Developers Blog. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  24. ^ Ian Lake (March 2, 2015). "Google Play services 7.0". Android Developers Blog. Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  25. ^ a b Ron Amadeo (October 21, 2013). "Google’s iron grip on Android: Controlling open source by any means necessary". Ars Technica. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 

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