03
Feb
unnamed (6)

Today, Google finally opened the Chromecast up to developers in a meaningful way, releasing the Google Cast SDK and integrating the relevant Android API into Google Play Services, the ever-growing backbone of Google's Android-based offerings. The update has already begun its rollout. Of course, that means we're going to look inside and see what's new, and we've also got a download for those who just can't wait for Play Services 4.2 to hit their device.

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Google Cast

The headlining feature of today's update, as mentioned, was the integration of the Google Cast API. As you'd expect, the new Play Services is full of strings relevant to casting, media routes, and devices. We won't bore you with the strings, but there is a helpful array that gives us some idea what media types will be supported for casting.

<string-array name="cast_mime_types">
<item>image/jpeg</item>
<item>image/pjpeg</item>
<item>image/jpg</item>
<item>image/webp</item>
<item>image/png</item>
<item>image/gif</item>
<item>image/bmp</item>
<item>image/vnd.microsoft.icon</item>
<item>image/x-icon</item>
<item>image/x-xbitmap</item>
<item>audio/wav</item>
<item>audio/x-wav</item>
<item>audio/mp3</item>
<item>audio/x-mp3</item>
<item>audio/x-m4a</item>
<item>audio/mpeg</item>
<item>audio/webm</item>
<item>video/mp4</item>
<item>video/x-m4v</item>
<item>video/mp2t</item>
<item>video/webm</item>
</string-array>

Everything from gifs to icons are eligible, though the MIME types don't give us insight into which specific codecs are currently supported for casting.

Play Games

Google continues to refine the match-making process in Play Games. In today's Play Services update, the interface for inviting players has been refined to show "active" players as a separate group from everyone else in your circles, and warns users that "auto-picked" players will be able to see their Google+ profile and relevant activity information. The invitations interface has also received some attention.

image imageScreenshot_2014-02-03-16-31-27 Screenshot_2014-02-03-16-13-31

Left: Before (taken from Nexus 10), Right: After (Nexus 7)

    <string name="games_select_players_auto_match_warning_card_text">This game can share your activity or Google+ profile with auto-picked players, based on your settings</string>

    <string name="games_select_players_auto_match_warning_card_button">Learn more</string>

The match-making waiting room has also gotten a spit-polish: if you've chosen to play with auto-picked players, the "waiting for auto-match" interface will eventually time out, giving you the option to keep waiting for auto-picked players or to cancel the match. Previously, the interface would wait indefinitely, unless the user chose to exit. 

Screenshot_2014-02-03-16-24-48

More progress has been made on asynchronous play, too - new strings provide information on whose turn it is, and will tell you if there aren't any matches in progress.

    <string name="games_inbox_my_turn_zero_toast_message">Not my turn</string>

    <string name="games_inbox_their_turn_zero_toast_message">No players have their turn</string>

    <string name="games_inbox_invitation_zero_toast_message">No invitations</string>

    <string name="games_inbox_matches_zero_toast_message">No matches in progress</string>

Additionally, the pull-to-refresh gesture has been added to several parts of Play Games, like Leaderboards, where the refresh option used to be stuck in the overflow menu.

Authentication

There are also some new strings that appear to be related to account authentication. The strings point to things like password reset, login activity, and two-step verification. Some of the strings seem to indicate functionality currently offered by Google Authenticator, but it's hard to say without more context what they'll do. For now, these strings don't seem to be user-facing.

<string name="auth_authzen_recovery_verification_default_text">Did you request to reset your password?</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_allow_reset_button_text">Allow password reset</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_recovery_login_challenge_desc_text">Did you just try to login to Google?</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_login_challenge_confirmation_allow_button_text">Allow login</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_recovery_2f_challenge_desc_text">Did you just try to login to Google?</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_2f_challenge_confirmation_allow_button_text">Allow login</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_minutemaid_challenge_desc_text">"To approve sign-in on your computer, you'll need to verify your identity"</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_minutemaid_challenge_location_text">sign-in request from a computer in %s</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_minutemaid_yes_button_text">OK, continue</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_minutemaid_no_button_text">"I didn't request this"</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_minutemaid_pin_entry_description_text">Enter your Google Account PIN</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_minutemaid_pin_entry_allow_button_text">Sign in</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_minutemaid_pin_entry_cancel_button_text">Cancel</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_minutemaid_notify_desc_text">Thanks for letting us know, %s</string>

<string name="auth_authzen_minutemaid_notify_sub_desc_text">"We've made a note of this activity, so we can continue to keep your account secure."</string>

<string name="auth_otp_instruction">Enter this code on the Google web page.</string>

<string name="auth_otp_no_accounts_available_message">There is no account configured on this device.</string>

<string name="auth_otp_error">There was a problem generating the verification code.</string>

<string name="auth_otp_progress_dialog_message">Generating a verification code.</string>

<string name="auth_otp_dialog_title">Verification code</string>

<string name="auth_otp_done_button">Done</string>

<string name="auth_otp_select_account_message">Select an account</string>

Bits and Pieces

The Play Services APK also has a Google Search icon packed in. It was until today, however, the old (sharp) square icon, not the new one, based on the same rounded boilerplate as the Google+ and Google Settings icons. Search's actual icon (identical to this one) is packed into its own APK, so it isn't immediately clear where or if the icon included in Play Services is used, but it's good to know that it's at least up to date.

image

Finally, there's a string that appears to be related to the label for a Google Voice number in the People app.

<string name="people_google_voice_phone_label">Google Voice</string>

Strangely, phone numbers added to contacts as Google Voice numbers on the web still carry the label "GRANDCENTRAL" post-update, and there's no option in the People app to add a Google Voice number explicitly, so while the label does pop up elsewhere in the code, it's unclear what - if anything - this string actually does right now. If you've spotted its potential purpose, let us know!

Google Drive API

One last thing - the new Google Drive API, introduced in a previous edition of Play Services, has graduated from its developer preview status, as noted by Google's Android Developers Blog. The official blog entry notes only "refinements to the API as well as improved performance and stability."

Download

Don't want to wait for the latest Play Services to hit your device? The APK below is signed by Google and will upgrade your existing app. Its cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and wasn't tampered with in any way.

File Name: com.google.android.gms-4.2.39 (997510-038).apk

File Size: 11.4MB

Version: 4.2.39

MD5: 75886070007B7A63E8DA731D7E5383B7

Thanks Sam Meng and Santiago Rosales!

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Alberto

    now we need to wait until developer use the new chromecast api?

    • Aleksey_US

      yes

    • JRomeo

      developers already used the new chromecast api, download Allcast.

  • Balthazar_B

    No FLAC. :(
    Does AAC register itself automatically as M4A?

    • enoch861

      AAC is part of the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 standard, so yes, I'd assume so since every other device does.

  • AbbyZFresh

    I don't know anyone who uses Chromecast. All i see are Rokus and Smart tvs.

    • http://tsurufoto.com/ Aaron Tsuru

      I use one and a roku. So now you know one!

    • Ashish

      Even better. Its the best $35 birthday gift you can buy them.

    • Jason

      I use one as well. One of the easiest devices ever. So know you know at least two. And its still sitting at Amazon's number 1 sold electronic item, so I'm guessing there is more than two thats been sold. :-P

    • Isaac Winters

      I have a Sony TV with Google TV baked in but I use a Chromecast for the convenience instead of the Google TV features. Also, I bought a Chromecast for my parents and they have been loving it.

    • TheWenger

      The wife and I use it several times a week.

    • usamaisawake

      Use it everyday to watch Netflix, YouTube or Google Play media (songs and TV/movie). I have a Roku and an Xbox360 but the Chromecast is faster and easier to control, and more convenient to use since my wife can pause if need be with her phone, etc.

      • Jason Black

        How can I watch my showbox movies on my chromecast?

        • http://usamaisawake.wordpress.com/ Usama Ahmad

          Hi. I'm sorry I'm not sure what showbox is, I googled it but I'm not familiar with this service. However the Chromecast SDK was made available and what I would recommend is that if the Showbox app (?) can't connect to your Chromecast at present then request the developer to add Chromecast support?

    • Simon Belmont

      I have two and they both get used often. My workflow has migrated from watching things on a tablet or computer to watching them on my TV thanks to Chromecast.

      Things are going to get even better now. Can't wait.

    • mikeym0p

      It literally was announced, thankfully, right before I bought a Roku HD. ChromeCast is integrated into a few SmartTV's already you know.

  • MauriceGriffin

    Haven't the foggiest idea why I downloaded and installed this.. Though I am working on a cross platform Cordova-based app right now. Chromecast support would be totally random. Especially since its going to be for an invite-only research study thing.

  • Suhas Vemuri

    Nice update for the Play Games interface.. Sending invitations to friends was such a pain before, scrolling down the whole list, searching by name is a no-brainer.. a favorite list would be nice. I wish there's a place to post such suggestions..

  • dogulas

    Weird. For the download from each of the mirrors, I get "can't open file". CM 11 nightly.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Thanks for the heads-up, I'm looking into it now.

      • Peter

        it's worth noting that there are several builds of Google Play Services depending on screen resolutions etc. installing the wrong version could have strange results.

        • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

          That's true. If I'm not mistaken though, the apk should still install, it will just have some weird looking resources.

          • teolinux

            and this one you posted is good for a nexus 5?

      • dogulas

        Oops. I actually didn't use that second one since the download itself wasn't working. The first and the third though.

      • dogulas

        It must be this CM build I am using.

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

      I checked both mirrors, and they're binary the same as the original I have. Could you check the MD5 sum on the download and see what it says?

      • dogulas

        It worked when I opened the apk from a file explorer instead of downloads.

      • xnadax

        The problem is that you can't (or at least I can't on any of my phones) open APK downloads with spaces in their filenames from the notification shade or Downloads app. I have to use a file manager in those cases.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      Are you downloading through WiFi? Perhaps you're behind a proxy that's causing some issues. If you're still having problems, try switching over to cellular just for that download.

    • Christopher Mason

      Android does that with some APKs. Try opening it with a file explorer, not from Downloads.

      • dogulas

        Winner winner, chicken dinner. Thanks.

    • Tony B

      Same problem on my Nexus 7 running stock 4.4.2, but downloaded and installed fine on stock rooted GS3 running 4.3

    • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

      Same issue here, in CM 11 on my Note 3, though to be fair, I've randomly had the exact same issue in the past when running TouchWhiz.

      There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it - sometimes downloaded APKs can be installed from the Downloads app just fine, and other times, like now, it pops up a bogus intent menu with (in my case): "Dice Player, ezPDF Reader, and Nova Launcher". I just revert to using ES File Explorer in this case, since it always works.

    • xnadax

      That always happens to me when there's a space in the apk filename.

  • Arjen82

    So this will not enable you to use cast screen to cast to your Chromecast? In that case, Allcast it is (as soon as it is updated)...

    • Robert Macri

      Allcast is already updated.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Wait, so GEL is integrated into Google Search which is intergated into Play Services?

    • mikeym0p

      My heads starting to hurt

  • Luqmaan Mathee

    Damn! Google updated mine before I could get the apk. Google stole my only fun :(.

    • mikeym0p

      We all need more eventful lives apparently

  • Joseph Kennedy

    It just need to support .avi files!!! Almost all of my older movies downloaded are in that format, particularly the old Disney movies for my kid.

  • Anders

    This update puts my phone in a reboot loop if I have Wifi enabled. See this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9ZJJBF26LA

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Am I the olny one with a mobile theme in this article?

  • Kevin

    Installing this killed my background art, track title and artists along with the long press functionality for Play Music on my Moto X. Is there anyway to "roll back"?

    • Kevin

      On the lock screen while music is playing...

  • NoneOfYourBizzness

    Moto X on Verizon here, still no update to play services.

  • StickySteph

    How do you know if you are up to date?

  • MSgt Shadow

    New to updating apps, etc. outside of what Google or Samsung pushes...is this update appropriate for a Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket running Android Version 4.1.2 and Google Play Services Version 4.1.32 (978161-34)? I haven't received this update through the normal channels yet and want to use AllCast with my Chromecast. Thanks.

  • mike kistler

    Trying to cast from Google drive with allcast because I could before Google blocked them. Now they're back and requiring Google play service 4.2.34 and I installed 4.2.39 from here. When I try to cast from Google drive through allcast it crashes and says Google play service has crashed. Has anyone been able to make this work?

  • Bryan Fletcher

    I'm bummed. I have a rooted note 2, developer debug option on, install from unknown sources checked... opened the apk from my file explorer... I get asked if I want to install... say yes - install... returns with "App not installed." Any suggestions?

  • Calvin Jones

    How can i help

  • Maria Lupe Valenzuela

    Unistalled google play services by mistake. Know i can't find it on google play.Where do i get it to reinstall ???

  • FrozenFlameXX

    not working... it sucks.. :P