Google has just announced the release of the latest version Google Play services, giving Android developers more tools in their arsenal. While the release is, of course, intended mostly for programmers, several new features will be of interest to end users as well.
Probably the most interesting part of Google Play Services 4.2 is the inclusion of the Cast API. Although the API for integrating Chromecast functionality apps has been released a week ago, developers like Dayframe have been requested to hold back for a while until official support has been added via Google Play Services. Now that the cat is truly out of the bag, we will perhaps soon see a flood of apps supporting the multimedia streaming dongle.
Also included in this release is the newly launched Google Drive API for Android. Revealed last month, the API allowed developers to add deeper support for Google’s cloud storage solution beyond simple uploading of files via Android’s sharing framework. In particular, this allowed apps to temporarily save a local copy of a file or content which can then be synced with Google Drive later when an Internet connection becomes available. The feature, though seemingly basic, puts Google Drive one step closer to catching up with similar services, particularly Dropbox.
In this release, Google is also announcing a new Client API model to make developers’ lives easier. Though nothing will change for users, this new model will let developers use a single API to connect to all and any needed Google Play service, like games, Google+, and others, instead of having one connection per service. While the old client connection model will continue to work, it will be slowly deprecated and eventually removed, so developers should start migrating to the new API. End users won’t have to lift a finger in order to get the new Google Play Services 4.2 on their Android device, as it is automatically download and updated in the background.