Google Play services provides you with easy access to Google services and is tightly integrated with the Android OS. Easy-to-use client libraries are provided for each service that let you implement the functionality you want easier and faster.
All products in Google Play services share a common authorization API that leverages the existing Google accounts on the device. You and your users have a consistent and safe way to grant and receive OAuth2 access tokens to Google services.
Devices running Android 2.3 or higher that have the Google Play Store app will automatically receive updates to Google Play services. Enhance your app with the most recent version of Google Play services without worrying about your users' Android version.
To start integrating Google Play services into your app, follow the Setup guide.
Google Play services, Version 5.0 (July 2014)
- Highlights in Version 5.0
For a summary of the feature highlights in Google Play services 5.0, see the announcement blog post.
- Analytics - The Enhanced Ecommerce API allows your app to send product related information and actions to Google Analytics. Use this API to measure impressions of products seen by users, checkout steps, and products purchased. This information can be analyzed for the effectiveness of marketing and merchandising efforts, including the impact of internal promotions, coupons, and affiliate marketing programs.
- App Indexing - The App Indexing API provides a way for developers to notify Google about deep links in their native apps and allows the Google Search App, version 3.6 and above, to drive re-engagement through Google Search query autocompletions, providing fast and easy access to inner pages in apps.
- Drive - The Query APIs now allow your app to retrieve Drive files by sorted order, according to a developer-specified sorting criteria.
- Play Games - This release introduces the Quests and Saved Games services. The Quests service gives you the ability to issue time-bound in-game challenges based on Events data sent from your game, without republishing your game (for example: Your game sends an event each time a “gem” is found by a player, and you create a quest to “Find 20 gems”). Players can complete a quest to earn rewards. Saved Games offers improved functionality for saving game state information and visually displaying player game progression.
- Security - The Security API allows you to easily install a dynamic security provider. New versions of Google Play Services will keep the security provider up-to-date with the latest security fixes as those become available.
- Wallet - The Save to Google API for Android lets users save Wallet Objects to their Google Wallet with the click of a button displayed in your Android app.
- Wearables - The Wearable Data Layer API provides a communication channel between your handheld and wearable apps. The API consists of a set of data objects that the system can send and synchronize and listeners that notify your apps of important events from the other device.
Google Play services, Version 4.4 (May 2014)
- Highlights in Version 4.4
For a summary of the feature highlights in Google Play services 4.4, see the announcement blog post.
- Maps - New features for Street View and enhanced control of Indoor Maps.
- Activity recognition - The Location API has been updated with new activity detectors for running and walking.
- Mobile Ads - The new in-app purchase APIs allow publishers to display in-app purchase ads, which enables users to purchase advertised items directly.
- Wallet Fragment - The new Wallet Fragment API allows you to easily integrate Google Wallet Instant Buy with an existing app.
Google Play services, Version 4.3 (March 2014)
- Highlights in Version 4.3
For a summary of the feature highlights in Google Play services 4.3, see the announcement blog post.
- Play Games - The new Game Gifts API enables games to send virtual in-game requests to anyone in a player’s circles or through player search.
- Analytics - Google Analytics and Tag Manager are now part of Google Play services.
- Drive - Change notifications, offline content, and more.
- Address - Let your users provide complete addresses in a single click.
How It Works
The Google Play services client library
The client library contains the interfaces to the individual Google services and allows you to obtain authorization from users to gain access to these services with their credentials. It also contains APIs that allow you to resolve any issues at runtime, such as a missing, disabled, or out-of-date Google Play services APK. The client library has a light footprint if you use ProGuard as part of your build process, so it won't have an adverse impact on your app's file size.
If you want to access added features or products, you can upgrade to a new version of the client library as they are released. However, upgrading is not necessary if you don't care about new features or bug fixes. We anticipate more Google services to be continuously added, so be on the lookout for these updates.
The Google Play services APK
The Google Play services APK contains the individual Google services and runs as a background service in the Android OS. You interact with the background service through the client library and the service carries out the actions on your behalf. An easy-to-use authorization flow is also provided to gain access to the each Google service, which provides consistency for both you and your users.
The Google Play services APK is delivered through the Google Play Store, so updates to the services are not dependent on carrier or OEM system image updates. In general, devices running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or later and have the Google Play Store app installed receive updates within a few days. This allows you to use the newest APIs in Google Play services and reach most of the devices in the Android ecosystem (devices older than Android 2.3 or devices without the Google Play Store app are not supported).
The benefits for your app
Google Play services gives you the freedom to use the newest APIs for popular Google services without worrying about device support. Updates to Google Play services are distributed automatically by the Google Play Store and new versions of the client library are delivered through the Android SDK Manager. This makes it easy for you to focus on what's important: your users' experience.
To get started, set up the SDK and check out the various products in the Google Play services platform now!