04
Apr
drivelogo

Today, Google launched a couple new features for developers that will give them a lot more flexibility in storing data associated with apps. For starters, using what's called "app data folders," a developer can store important files in a user's Drive storage space. This is huge news as, up until this point, the main method for backing up data has been the Backup API, which is great for small things that are 1-2MB or so, but isn't really sufficient for larger files.

appdatafolder

Lest you worry that developers can now pile a bunch of data into your Drive account, users will still be able to see how much data is being stored. Just not what's in there. Developers can instruct their app to retrieve this data at any time so, while it's not a proper sync service, it could potentially be used to retrieve game saves or configuration files when installing on a new device.

Additionally, Google is allowing devs to add custom properties to any Drive file. This would allow apps to apply arbitrary metadata and utilize that for its own functions. One example given is that "a classroom app could keep track of the grade for a document."

These two features are small, but powerful options that hopefully developers will find plenty of use for. If any devs in the audience have some ideas for how they might use them, feel free to share in the comments.

Source: Google

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • Alex Flynn

    I'll use it to store a message detailing how long Android has needed a feature like this,

  • Sam Hollis

    Hopefully this will allow the long awaited syncing of app data between devices, especially for games.

    • CA719

      oh man! This would be awesome!!

    • Jason Banich

      PLEASE GOD YES I CAN"T WAIT

    • Rob Mahon

      Carbon and/or DataSync to move games around devices appears to work well for anything stored local.

      • Fatty Bunter

        "well"
        There's always "better".

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  • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

    Hopefully, developers will actually use the feature. Unlike the Backup API, which I have problems finding which app is using it.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      The biggest problem with the Backup API is it's not reliable. You can't force sync - Android just accepts a request to sync but decides when to do it. It's not meant for game saves, and Google is open about this fact. That's not its purpose.

      • makapav

        With grave misses like this under Rubin's rule which impact user experience, I'm almost glad Rubin is longer at the helm. Sunder has a good record of focusing on user experience with Chrome.

      • Joshua Barta

        To say that's not its purpose is an understatement, and begs the question, what IS the purpose of an API call that MIGHT back up the user's data at some UNSPECIFIED point in the future, with the hope that MAYBE it will get restored when the user sets up a new device? What incentive is there to use an API with so many "maybes", "mights" and "unspecified"s? Developers (and end users) hate lack of control. The previous implementation of the Backup API simply never made sense.

  • Sqube

    Does this... does this mean that we can finally sync our game saves to the cloud?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I am not convinced it does but maybe developers can prove my wrong. Last I heard from various developers I asked, nobody seemed to care about implementing it due to added costs and time for research versus return on such an investment.

      • nickmorgs

        As someone who has just jumped from iOS (and has never regretted it for a second!), I heard the same argument used when iCloud was introduced.

        It very quickly became a prerequisite for any decent game though. If a premium game landed without it, everyone was moaning about it so the developers had no choice but to include it.

        Can't see any reason why it would be different on Android.

      • marcusmaximus04

        "Last I heard from various developers I asked, nobody seemed to care about implementing it due to added costs and time for research versus return on such an investment."

        Then I guess I'm the first. It's definitely not the highest priority thing I need to do for my game(I have a fairly long laundry list that has to come first), but I'm definitely interested in using this. It sounds like a huge boon and really not too much extra code over what I'm already doing.

        Then again, I suppose I *did* add zeemote support one afternoon after I got a free one at GDC 2012, so maybe I'm just kinda crazy that way.

  • JG

    I wonder how long until our free 5GBs are full of Angry Bird saves & we all have to start shelling out additional $ to backup other non-Android files on Drive....

  • Joe_HTH

    Microsoft is right not to allow this shit on Skydrive. It's why Skydrive is far superior to Google Drive. I don't want some developer loading a bunch of crap into my Skydrive just because I downloaded their app. Fuck that noise. That is my storage, not theirs. The last thing I want is XML and other non-readable garbage in my cloud storage, that I didn't put there.

    • Sherwyn Gonsalves

      you stupid fool....you can choose whether the developer saves to your cloud account. And you can delete all the data at once

    • Dpedra

      Also, it's cheaper for the devs (and for you) because this way they don't need to spend money with cloud services. That means they can charge you only once.