18
Apr
nexusae0_GAMES1
Last Updated: April 20th, 2013

We've got a good one for you today. A teardown of MyGlass, yes that's right, the Google Glass companion app, has given us what looks like the entire Google Games Service feature list. You just can't make this stuff up.

The games service probably has nothing to do with Google Glass; Glass can't run complex apps. The Glass team accidentally shipped the full suite of Google Play Services with their new app, which is not normal. This included a never-before-seen backend for an extensive multiplayer gaming service, with just about every gaming feature you could possibly imagine.

Background

To understand just what has happened, and why this is not related to Glass at all, we've got to talk about "GMS." GMS originally stood for "Google Mobile Services"; they changed the name to "Google Play Services," but never changed the acronym.

GMS, as the name(s) would suggest, is a collection of Google-powered components that some apps depend on to work. It handles account credentials, purchases, map tiles, Google+ integration, and a bunch of other Googley stuff. Any developer using in-app purchasing is shipping a GMS component, the same goes for Google+ sign-in.

When Google ships an app update, they grab all the necessary parts of GMS that their app needs, package it with the app, and ship it out the door. The important takeaway here is that GMS is a shared group of components provided by Google. You're supposed to pick the parts you need from a big pool and leave the rest behind.

Let's take a look at the GMS folders for a few apps, including MyGlass:

2013-04-17_23-12-40

Google+ makes for a good example of just what is going on here. It needs an "auth" folder to login to your Google Account, a "Maps" folder to display Maps tiles for links and events, a "Panorama" folder to display Photospheres, a "plus" folder for G+ sign-in, etc. Now look at the "MyGlass" folder. MyGlass is a fairly simple app; it doesn't do 25% of the stuff listed in its GMS folder.

They shipped everything.

Most of this is pretty standard stuff, and you could probably piece it together from the various other Google apps. But look, buried in that big list of stuff: a "games" folder. That's never seen the light of day before.

My point here is that, despite shipping with MyGlass, I don't believe this games folder has anything to do with Glass - just like Wallet, panorama, and app search don't have anything to do with Glass. The Glass Team probably just accidentally pressed the "ship everything" button instead of selectively picking what they needed. Thanks guys!

What Can This Games Service Do?

Inside this shiny new "games" folder is evidence that this new service will do just about everything you could ever want. Here are the interesting files I've managed to come across, which give a pretty clear idea of what Google is building.

Real-Time Multiplayer

2013-04-18_01-17-26

This would be for FPSes, racing games, fighting games, and stuff like that - you and your friends playing at the same time. This suggests Google is going to start handling all that scary net code and matchmaking stuff on their servers. That would be a dream come true for developers.

Turn-Based Multiplayer

2013-04-18_01-08-07

Board games and drawing games. For these you would open the app, play your turn, and close the app. You'll get notifications (which there are also files for) when it's your turn again.

In Game Chat

2013-04-18_01-18-39

Trash talk your friend in the middle of a game. Note that the filenames seem to suggest this is limited to real-time multiplayer. I guess you wouldn't need it for turn-based anyway - you've got Google Talk for that.

Achievements

2013-04-18_00-57-35

"Achievement Unlocked: Spoil surprises for at least 5 different Google products."

Leaderboards

2013-04-18_00-58-29

See exactly how poorly you're doing vs. the world.

Invitations

2013-04-18_00-59-37

This would send an invitation to a friend and pull them into your game.

Lobbies

2013-04-18_01-20-39

Chat before the game starts, plan strategies, pick rules, and choose teams.

Conclusion

I can't squeeze too many more details out of this, because all of the heavy lifting would be done on a server somewhere. This is just the middle man that passes data between the app and the server. What it looks like is also off limits - there's no interface to speak of. Presumably the design would be up to the game developer, or maybe included in a new version of the Google Play Services app.

I'm also not sure about the name. Google Games is just a wild guess.

Still though, this gives us a much clearer picture of what's going on. It sounds like Google is going to take on multiplayer gaming in a big way. They're developing a plug-in gaming service that handles every common multiplayer feature gamers have come to expect. Developers' lives should get a whole lot easier, and multiplayer gaming on Android should get a whole lot better.

The really good news is that this seems nearly finished! It being including in a shipping product suggests that it's finished and freely floating around Google HQ. I would expect to hear a lot more about it at Google I/O.

Just remember: when a Googler jumps on stage and announces all of this, try to act surprised. I'll see you next update!

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • heat361

    I think we're all thinking omg omg! Lol
    Great teardown Ron!

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    This is really good news. Xbox Live was one of the few remaining exclusive features of Windows Phone that still had my attention. The more services like this Google finally makes standard, the less need I'm going to have for other platforms. Makes me wonder how much longer I'm going to need a desktop OS-based computer at all.

    • Ian Santopietro

      Mobile/Android is great, but data entry sucks on mobile devices. You'll still have at least one desktop/laptop for a while.

      • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

        I'm referring to using it in an appropriate form factor that accounts for that. Android supports keyboards and mice, and there are transforming tablets available. Android isn't far off from being viable as a desktop-replacement OS.

      • marcusmaximus04

        I do all my *coding* on my Nexus 7(well, occasionally my Nexus 10). With a bluetooth keyboard, you really aren't missing anything.

  • nawa

    "Achievement Unlocked: Spoil surprises for at least 5 different Google products." - hahahah, I love you

    • http://twitter.com/TaylorSandler TaylorSandler

      as Don responded I can't believe that you able to earn $8196 in one month on the network.

      • http://www.facebook.com/riza.sps Riza Sps

        Get a life
        (may be I am talking to a bot)

        • Sootie

          You are, whatever you do don't actively encourage them to gain sentience!!

    • http://twitter.com/TaylorSandler TaylorSandler

      ...---goo.gl/S5UCM (Home more information)

  • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja Zargh

    ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: Unprovoked Stawman

    • David Wiebe

      ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: Lure spelling nazi.

      • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja Zargh

        ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: Ninja edit

        • Cherokee4Life

          ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: hi! :)

        • Masaaki Hosoi

          ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: Well-hidden ninja edit

  • arafsheikh

    Google when you search, Google when you use your phone, Google when you watch a video, Google on your head and now Google when you play.
    Good work Google!

    • Sven Frenzel

      you forgot: Google when you e-mail, Google when you use the internet (ISP), Google when you drive..

      • PhilNelwyn

        ...or don't drive. ;)

      • arafsheikh

        There is still a whole lot more, Google when you browse, Google when you view your images, Google when you want to find your way home, etc, etc

    • Adam Miah

      Google World Order!

      • Demetrius

        That is not a good thing.

        • Justin Swanson

          You've clearly not been assimilate properly. Please return to Mountain View for a firmware update.

    • Ryan

      This was to the tune of the pizza bagel song, right?

  • Robert Blenkinsopp

    This is basically Steamworks for Android. I just hope developers add support to their existing games, unified achievements / scores etc. would be great.

  • Neil Ross Goco

    Question, does this 'shipping' on Play Services mean people with devices on Android 4.2 and below will have access to Google Games? I hope it wouldn't be a 5.0-only feature.

    • Sam Hollis

      Google Play Services is shipped with the Gapps package that contains Gmail and such. Google can remote update it to every device via the Play Store without anyone knowing.

  • http://profiles.google.com/anoop.ch.1987 Anoop CH

    Just remember: when a Googler jumps on stage and announces all of this, try to act surprised. I'll see you next update!..

  • Seth Merritt

    So what are the chances of game saves being included? Would love to have my phone and tablet sync game progress

  • dfornal

    I hope that this also includes a better mechanism to sync game saves across devices.

    • Oniros

      I would pay for something like this.

  • Lalit Mali

    Google Keep leaked shortly before launch, and so did Play Store 4
    Google is purposely doing this :-o

    • makapav

      No. They're sloppy. All around and it shows in every product. But guess what, it's good for us sometimes :-)

      • QwietStorm

        Sloppy? All around? Hows that?

        • makapav

          Exhibit 1: Google Navigation in-app dialog boxes are a mix of Android 2.3 and JellyBean

          Exhibit 2: Google Voice - disaster app when it comes to UI and UX conformation since 2010

          Exhibit 3: Contacts app is white but dialer is black?

          Exhibit 4: Inconsistent Google+ logo between website and android app.

          Exhibit 5: Half of the Google apps don't confirm to their own Tablet UI guidelines.

          • nawa

            Ron, relogin please

  • Kam Siu

    shit this is going to be great Google IO !!!

  • Sean Stone

    The one thing missing from that list, cloud saves. I want to have my games on multiple devices and be able to play on my phone, then pick up where I left off on my tablet, with out having to think about it. I know there are 3rd party apps, but having it built in and being fully automated would be killer.

    • nsnsmj

      This right here. I'm tired of having to use Carbon, or DataSync, or some other 3rd party app just to keep my game saves and app settings backed up and synced.

    • PhilNelwyn
      • Sean Stone

        That's a step in the right direction, but it says that it's not a proper sync solution.

        • marcusmaximus04

          It doesn't need to be. Having looked at the API, it's pretty trivial for a dev to whip of their own sync functionality using that.

    • Robert Marcano

      Android already have APIs for applications backup to their cloud backend
      (In the case of Google Android devices, the backend is Google obviously)

      http://developer.android.com/guide/topics/data/backup.html

      • Kazbin

        From the Link you posted:

        "Note: The backup service is not designed for synchronizing application data with other clients or saving data that you'd like to access during the normal application lifecycle. You cannot read or write backup data on demand and cannot access it in any way other than through the APIs provided by the Backup Manager."

    • perfectlyreasonabletoo

      Origin maybe? Hahahaha

    • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

      +1

    • shonangreg

      Isn't the other thing missing a standarized controller protocol? We need some kind of device profile that cradle and gamepad makers can cater to. I'm tired of specific games using specific controllers.

  • József Király

    Just an idea, but what if they included the gaming (and all the other) API so that the apps what use those functions can attach to the Glass?

    For example, I can easily imagine the Glass taking over the place of todays fitness gadgets, at least partially. It is comfortable, easy to wear, not in the way, has all the sensors required, connects to your phone directly, and whatnot. And as an extra feature, it can display various information on the display, such as distance, speed, remaining distance, average speed, etc., all of the things you'd naturally reach for your phone during a jog.

    So why not incorporate games? With the Glass, ARG games can be something new, for the sake of the argument, let's call it ERG (Extended Reality Game). I could already make up lots of stories that present a world parallel to us, visible only to a select few, and you have to protect/fight/explore this alternative world. I am calling it ERG because unlike in ARGs, where you either see the real world or the game world, you would be seeing both simultaneously: the Glass would display objectives, images, whatever you want.

    But I wouldn't limit it to such games, it can be helpful for other things too. With the Glass, you can easily get rid of the on-screen UI, what takes up precious screen space, and place it in the field of view of the user, while keeping it out of the actual display (do not forget, any time you play games, most of your FoV is filled with surroundings, the game itself takes up a quite small space actually).

    So yes it is quite logical to add every API to the Glass, who knows what use will be discovered in the near future what nobody thought of?

  • Alan Shearer

    Optional Cloud saving please? yes? maybe? (Optional because games that require an internet connection to play on a wifi only tablet are annoying, So do like DH4 Does, let you upload your save to the cloud when you want to, then download it onto another device and continue)

  • Tony Blaha

    Google Games sounds ok... but considering the branding they've been using and the intrinsic pun value, I'll vote for Play Games ;)

  • KyleWay

    I wonder if this is a pre-cursor to a large scale MMORPG like WoW?

  • Michael Fontenot

    I can already hear it. Play Games

  • bydavidrosen

    I still think they should call it Google Playground to go along with the play store branding. Been saying that forever!

    • http://www.facebook.com/Zerounodos Manoleta Bocchia de Coussillan

      That sounds awesome.

    • http://www.kovdev.com/ kover

      ^ fantastic!

  • http://twitter.com/invisibleelvis Jack Crowe

    Well it's about time! I'm really excited for the future of android.

  • Mark Angeli

    Is this to be expected with a glass tie in to ingress?

  • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja Zargh

    It's not a *complete* surprise, they they sort of alluded to this last year: http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/7/2851602/google-unified-game-platform

  • Joey Heck

    You should offer your services to Google. You would get to work for GOOGLE, and they would get some secrecy :P

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

      And we would get nothing. No, thanks! The world needs apk teardowns.

    • makapav

      Now why would you want him to do that?

  • Fred

    Hopefully we'll get something as nice as the Game Center on iOS. I actually kinda missed Game Center when I switch away from iOS.

    • Chace Walters

      Game Center is an ugly app though.

      • Cheeseball

        Not so. It's actually quite organized compared to some other crap, like OpenFeint. I believe Google can do better and make this a proper standard.

      • GazaIan

        Indeed it is. But no one wanted the look, we just want te functionality.

  • Anshul Sood

    Really love the Teardowns. That was how I first found AP and started following it

  • nsnsmj

    Huge smile on my face right now.

  • Кристијан Ристовски

    Hahah you're awesome mate.

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    Awesome

  • Austin00

    This will be very nice for the makers of OUYA now they wont have to worry about making their own backbone.

    • jm9843

      The OUYA doesn't ship with Google Play Services and it probably never will, unless Google buys them.

    • Masaaki Hosoi

      No, OUYA Inc manages their own backend system (you could presumably sideload Google Play but compatibility is a bit of a crapshoot, both on an OS level and whether games support the controller)

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    So basically all we need is a better console like the Ouya, and there's a new competitor in the living room. If it's a set top box that can connect to your home network to stream as well as Google TV and Play....

    Well I am sure you can connect Tue sits. I am very interested.

    • EH101

      Hmm, revamped Nexus Q designed with gaming in mind at I/O?... Now THAT would be interesting.

  • Jay W.

    These APK teardowns are my favorite thing about AndroidPolice!

    • http://twitter.com/stalkbrandon Brandon V. Fletcher

      Agreed!

  • http://hughisaacs2.googlepages.com/ Hugh Isaacs II

    They've been hinting at this last year. http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/06/google-promises-a-unified-social-and-mobile-game-platform/

    I'm just glad to see it coming together now.

  • Alex Rodrigues

    Great! Great work Man!

  • DeadSOL

    I'm going to act surprised when I stream it I/O on the internet in a month (if they allow streaming). THIS. IS. EXCELLENT! :p

  • QwietStorm

    ..Google I/O hype level approaching level cap..

  • tyguy829

    They should have left it as android market and named THIS google play

  • Andy_in_Indy

    I look forward to learning more about these later. Making games that are cross-platform is a big issue, so I hope this will not limit me to Android only users.

  • Kamal

    Ron,
    Good job, you rock!!
    Did you check how many of these services Ingress uses??

  • paleh0rse

    Awesome info. However, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss Google Glass' involvement in gaming. There are a million ways that game devs could take advantage of Google Glass' "second screen" and camera...

    • Gary Wilkinson

      Ingress and Google Glass could work together interestingly.

  • Anon

    Oh, I do hope that some games that have got multiplayer on other platforms will now get multiplayer.

  • atlouiedog

    This is in the Glass .apk? We'd better get Wil Wheaton and Ashley Judd on standby.

    • jesuguru

      Just hope Glass doesn't punch Wheaton in the face whenever he puts it on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HenriqueMelissopoulos Henrique Melissopoulos

    Nice work :)

  • power_pizza

    I REALLY hope Google adds cross-game saves. I want to finish playing Swords and Sworcery on my Nexus 10 now that I have it but don't want to start my game over. Same goes for games like Bridge Constructor and Angry Birds. Sync my saves up please!!

    • The_Chlero

      cross-game saves? Does this means that I can save any game from within any other game?

      I think the term you are refering is cloud saving.

      • power_pizza

        D'oh! Yes that's what I meant. Thanks

        • Mental_Moose

          Although: Cross game saves would be pretty funny.
          You just beat Worms 2? Now you have three stars in all the levels of Angry Birds.

  • Guest

    I love your teardowns, Ron! I just can't wait to Google I/O :(

  • Guest

    I love your teardowns, Ron! I just can't wait to Google I/O. :(

  • http://twitter.com/Alankrut Alankrut Patel

    The MyGlass team is gonna get punished for this..... Assuming Google wanted to keep this a secret.

    Back to the teardown,
    Good Job Ron!!

    • Justin Swanson

      Sometimes I think the teams do this intentionally.

      They must know that people tear apart the apps, which generate articles, which generate more articles, more talk, more expectations/publicity for the rumored service.

      It's even better when they push it out with something that's completely unrelated.

      On the other hand, they might not want higher expectations if they can't deliver...

  • Marshall Ladd

    This is exactly why android police is my main news source for all things android. I can't wait for this. IO can't get here soon enough.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    Teardowns > rumors and leaks. Ron, you're the reason i look forward to software updates.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexslx Alexandre Leites

    Someone will be fired from Google.

  • Arturo Guerrero

    Why Ron is not a googler?

  • Adam Outler

    I'd say it wouldn't be called google games. This looks like Glass APIs to me. The things that need to run on the phone for connectivity and relay to Glass.

  • QwietStorm

    Later this evening, 6 men in black suits with blacked out Google Glass headsets show up at Ron's front door...

  • hot_spare

    Amazing! again..

  • Mehmet Fatih YILDIRIM

    Hell fuck yeah!

  • TechGuy22

    key lime pie bitches whooo. cant wait. although i dont do mobile games but still excited nevertheless.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    I can't believe how funny and sorta true this comment is.

  • primalxconvoy

    Now, if Google will just make a dedicated hardware controller spec and/or a non third party stb, I'll be happy.

  • shamu11

    franco from franco kernel confirmed this with a google employee

  • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

    Just like playing against people on Live, except now they'll know your real name, and quickly be able to obtain your GPS coordinates. Sounds like a really good idea.

  • acer1096xxx

    I could imagine this being extremely useful for Ouya.

    • Masaaki Hosoi

      No, not really. OUYA uses their own custom backend, and won't make use of Play.

  • http://twitter.com/Gnabergasher Gabernasher

    All the sudden I know what I want from KLP

  • Sootie

    So its xbox live for google. AWESOME!!! :)

    Love your work Ron!

  • Brandon Watkins

    Im so sad i didn't get my Google I/o ticket! Its going to be another amzing year! Can't wait! Now all you have to do google is sync all my data on google drive. So when i break my phone I can restore it by sighing into my account! Fingers crossed!

  • digiblogger

    Thanks Ron! Great job! Oh yes... *training* wooow I am surprised ;)

  • PrinterElf

    You mean this isn't going to be called Google Play? ;-)

  • Ram

    I think you might find the Games folder if you teardown their location game "Ingress". So not exactly new to google.

    • silaslenz

      The "Google" stuff i could find in Ingress was just analytics, talk, youtube, the cloud messaging thingy (c2dm), maps and Google plus.

      Not saying it's not in there, but i certainly couldn't find it, so it's highly unlikely.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/108482452903817442299/posts Andrew Bone

    hmm, worth noting ouya are waiting before implementing multiplayer game play, waiting for this?

  • http://twitter.com/whatisajimmy

    OH MY GOD FINALLY

  • Dan

    "when a Googler jumps on stage and announces all of this, try to act surprised"

    LMAO first thing in the morning. Thanks, Ron.

  • http://www.facebook.com/luu.h.binh Luu Huy Thai Binh

    ok so in a near future, you'll wave your hands to shoot zombies on the street, right? :D

  • Dennis Junior

    Soo it will be a Game Center. Google Games>.

  • Leon
  • Editor

    When are you going to do a real glass teardown? Are you going to be just another pussy-user taking what Google spoonfeeds you, or are you going to be hardcore and go in your tinfoil man-cave and crack the sucker open???

  • KRS_Won

    X-ray vision app.

  • Martin Liersch

    Well, what happened to turn-based multiplayer? :(

    • Paul

      Looks like it got killed before launch, sadly.

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