Google Play Services

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Google Play Services
Google Play Services icon
Developer(s)Google LLC
Initial release2012 (2012)
Stable release(s) [±]
Android19.8.31 / December 10, 2019; 4 days ago (2019-12-10)[1]
Android TV19.8.31 / December 10, 2019; 4 days ago (2019-12-10)[2]
Wear OS (Android Wear)19.0.56 / August 13, 2019; 4 months ago (2019-08-13)[3]
Preview release(s) [±]
Android19.4.19 beta / September 16, 2019; 2 months ago (2019-09-16)[4]
Android TV19.4.19 beta / September 16, 2019; 2 months ago (2019-09-16)[5]
Wear OS (Android Wear)16.0.81 beta / February 25, 2019; 9 months ago (2019-02-25)[6]
Operating system Android

Google Play Services is a proprietary background service and API package for Android devices from Google.[7] When first introduced in 2012, it provided simple access to the Google+ APIs and OAuth 2.0, but since then it has expanded to cover a large variety of Google's services, allowing applications to easily communicate with the services through common means.[8] As of April 2018, it has been installed more than five billion times on Android devices.[9]


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.[10] Saved Games API is available to quickly sync game saves on Google's cloud infrastructure as well.[11] The Location APIs provide specifications 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 such as reduced power usage and activity recognition for allowing applications to adapt to the current action of the user (e.g. cycling, walking, etc.).[12]

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+.[13] The 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 a means of adding custom markers and overlays over the map.[14] The Google Drive Android API allows 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.[15] The 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.[16]

Google Mobile Ads integrate advertisements into applications, allowing simple monetization by over a million Google advertisers and sophisticated ad targeting based on factors such as user location.[17] 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.[18] Google Play Services provides other APIs such as the Google Fit API, Google account authentication methods and Google Analytics APIs.[8] Google Play Services is used by almost all Google apps that have system-level powers to provide multiple internal features.[19] All major Android services are controlled by Google Play Services. Without this, apps may not work properly.[20]

Google Play Protect is a unification of Android security systems operated by Google.[21][22][23] Now, two years after its launch, the company has announced that the software is scanning 50 million apps per day. The announcement was made at Google I/O 2019 as part of the company's focus on privacy and security during Tuesday's keynote presentations.[24]

On November 6, 2019, Google announced the App Defense Alliance. Partners of the App Defense Alliance can request Google Play Protect to analyze an app. Results are sent to the partner and Google Play Protect receives results from partner’s. As of November, 2019, partners of the App Defense Alliance include: ESET, Lookout and Zimperium.[25][26]


Google Play Services is automatically updated through Google Play on devices with that application installed that are running Android 4.1 or newer.[7] This means Google can do fast, silent rollouts of updates, providing new functionality to older devices without manufacturers having to update the Android firmware itself, working around the fragmentation of the platform for which it had become infamous.[27]


The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) was announced in 2007, and has functioned as the baseline system for all OEMs and firmware modifications such as CyanogenMod and LineageOS. Various apps from AOSP are abandoned, and instead released on Google Play with a closed-source model. Many apps only function with Google Play Services available (such as many of the Google apps like Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps).

Any party interested in distributing Google Play Services as a part of the Google apps package must acquire a license from Google, which often results in a contractual agreement locking the manufacturer into Android.[citation needed] 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-out of Google Play Services or to obtain the Google apps package either from a device which has them pre-installed or an unofficial source.[19][27]


  1. ^ "Google Play Services". APKMirror. Android Police. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  2. ^ "Google Play Services (Android TV)". APKMirror. Android Police. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  3. ^ "Google Play Services (Wear OS)". APKMirror. Android Police. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  4. ^ "Google Play Services". APKMirror. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  5. ^ "Google Play Services (Android TV)". APKMirror. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  6. ^ "Google Play Services (Wear OS)". APKMirror. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Google Play Services". Android Developers. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Package Index". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  9. ^ Google Play Services - AppBrain Market 29 January 2014
  10. ^ "Google Play Game Services". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  11. ^ "Saved Games in Android". Google Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  12. ^ "Location APIs". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  13. ^ "Google+ Platform for Android". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  14. ^ "Google Maps Android API v2". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  15. ^ "Google Drive Android API". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  16. ^ "Google Cast Android API". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  17. ^ "Google Mobile Ads". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  18. ^ "Google Wallet Instant Buy". Android Developers. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  19. ^ a b Ron Amadeo (September 3, 2013). "Balky carriers and slow OEMs step aside: Google is defragging Android". Ars Technica. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  20. ^ "Update Google Play Services Manually". oTechWorld. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  21. ^ "Google's security suite 'Play Protect' rolling out to Android phones". Android Authority. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  22. ^ "Google's Play Protect didn't catch obfuscated malware with up to 20 million installs on the Play Store". Android Police. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  23. ^ "Keeping you safe with Google Play Protect". Google Blog. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  24. ^ "Google Play Protect Now Scans More Than 50 Million Apps Per Day". Beebom. 9 May 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  25. ^ "The App Defense Alliance: Bringing the security industry together to fight bad apps". Google Online Security Blog. Retrieved 2019-11-07.
  26. ^ "App Defense Alliance | Play Protect". Google Developers. Retrieved 2019-11-07.
  27. ^ 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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