Google has just announced the complete roll out of version 5.0 of its Google Play Services system to all Android devices world wide. Of course, the announcement is of more direct benefit to app developers but, as always, the new API and capabilities that the services bring will yield to interesting features for end users down the road.
It wouldn’t be surprising that Android Wear is front and center in this release. New API have been introduced that will let developers connect their apps to wearable devices running Android Wear. This will allow them to access features like synchronizing data, send messages instantly between devices, and transfer files.
As mentioned last week, Google is also enhancing its multiplayer online game service in this round. Highlights of the update include a dynamic quest system and, finally, saved games. But perhaps of more interest to game developers is what’s coming next, with teasers of OpenGL ES 3.1 support and an Android Extension Pack for desktop-quality graphics on your mobile device.
In-App Indexing is finally being made available to the public. In a nutshell, this gives developers the hooks in order to serve up “deep links” to their apps in Google search results, using the Google Search app (or Google Now), of course. This way, when users search for something and an app happens to have relevant content, a link to that app will show up in the results, making it seamless to jump over from search to app. This feature was announced late last year and was previously only available for a select few.
There are also various improvements for existing API like Google Cast, Drive, and Wallet. Users need not do anything to download Google Play Service 5.0 as it will automatically be updated in the background. It would be better to wait for these features to finally make their way to your favorite apps and games instead.