05
Mar
PlayGames-Thumb

Today the Google Play Games app has made the big jump from version 1.1 to 1.5, and there are quite a few new features tucked away inside that may cause you to hit its icon in your app tray a little bit more often. Let's dive in.

What's New?

The previous version allowed you to join multiplayer games from within the app, but the latest update introduces the ability to view invitations as well.

PlayGames1

To go along with that, you can also see which people in your circles are playing what.

PlayGames3 PlayGames4

Settings have moved from the Action Bar to the sidebar, which has also morphed quite a bit in other ways. There's a new item called Matches (which lists your invites), and Recommended Games is now called Find Games (though, for now at least, the actual tabs are the same). You can see all of these changes by comparing the old version and the new version below.

PlayGames5 PlayGames2

Update: Pull-to-refresh now works for the app's leaderboard.

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Download

Google takes its time with these updates, so here are several mirrors to speed things along.

The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

File name: com.google.android.play.games-1.5.08 (1052610-36).apk

File Size: 2.3 MB

Version: 1.5

MD5: c79e71e36a9f75db895a464790f1d5c2

Thanks, David Johnson.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

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  • Adrian

    Nice update!

  • http://google.com/+DavidJohnson David J

    Dang, was looking forward to seeing my name under credits for providing the tip to you guys on Google+ =(

    EDIT: I see it now =)

    • http://twitter.com/_vinr vinothr

      They did, with the link to your Google+

      • http://google.com/+DavidJohnson David J

        Yes, I seen it. Thanks though! =)

  • http://twitter.com/_vinr vinothr

    They seriously need to change the design and UI of that app. It needs to be, and look like a game hub with social aspect to it. Right now it looks nothing like a game hub. No chat, no live score etc etc.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

    Hmm. Not sure how I feel about the removal of separators in the nav drawer. It looks... odd.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Actually ANDROID POLICE IS TOTALLY MISLEADING US. =P The overflow button is not gone, the left screenshot is from a Nexus 5 and the right screenshot is from some Samsung thing with a hardware menu button, so that's causing the overflow button to disappear.

      The overflow button has a single item now: "Help." =/
      They can't fit "Help" below settings and kill the overflow button?

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

        I TOTALLY GOT YOU, RON. Samsung paid me $20mln to use the Note 3 in this post.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        We've actually started to exclusively use an unlabeled mix of Samsung and Nexus devices for all Google app update screenshots in order to mislead and confuse you. YOU LEFT US RON AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT EASY ON YOU.

      • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

        Play Books put "help" in the drawer, but still has the overflow for... Get ready... REFRESH.

        • refs

          The inconsistency in Google apps is insane.

      • Cheeseball

        It's a secret call for help. Help.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

        Thanks for the clarification. I thought my update was not up to par with Bertels. But Ron, I have TWO items in my overflow menu. Am I special or what? I have "accounts" and "help."

        • Cathy Rudy

          There really needs to be a way to compare your achievements with people in your circles.

  • Adam Olivero

    Cool update. I have a question. Play Games keeps crashing on my phone. I've cleared its cache, cleared data, uninstalled and reinstalled. Any other solutions?

  • Floris

    Pull to refresh works in the scoreboards as well now..

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

      Right you are, thanks.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        Ken?

  • TheSparks

    Hey, someone care to talk about what that new "Matches" item in the sidebar lets you to do?

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

      It just has a list of Invitations - for example, I see that invitation from Kuba Zeranski there that I also see in Play Now.

      • TheSparks

        oh I see. So it doesn't include your previously played matches with who won etc.?

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

          Not sure - I don't really use Play Games, sorry.

          • TheSparks

            Alright no problem, thanks.

  • NickAVV

    There really needs to be a way to compare your achievements with people in your circles. What's the point of acheivements if not to show them off?

    • Eself1643

      мʏ ғʀι­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ɴɖ'ѕ ѕт­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ք-αυɴт мαĸ­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ѕ $71 нօυʀʟʏ օɴ тн­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ ƈօмքυт­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ʀ. ѕн­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ нαѕ в­­­­­­℮­­­­­­­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ɴ օυт օғ աօʀĸ ғօʀ ­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ιɢнт мօɴтнѕ вυт ʟαѕт мօɴтн н­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ʀ ƈн­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ƈĸ աαѕ $12258 ʝυѕт աօʀĸιɴɢ օɴ тн­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ ƈօмքυт­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ʀ ғօʀ α ғ­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ա нօυʀѕ. ʟօօĸ αт тнιѕ ա­­­­­­℮­­­­­­вѕιт­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ SaveJury&#46com

      • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao

        Tell your friend her step-aunt shall be dead for making money in this manner. Tick tick tick.

  • brkshr

    I think this is one update I can wait for to download on the Play Store.

  • nebula

    I wanna see the achievements of my friends. Otherwise it's crap. Why do we need an invite system, if we could also just send the play store link to our friends?

    • miri

      It's an invite to a multiplayer session.

  • Chaosprower

    There's a new function on the Find Games section. You can now search for games within the app without having to open the Play Store app.

  • Mitch Ware

    Really don't understand the new direction Google is taking in moving "Settings" from the overflow menu to the side navigation drawer.... The design docs clearly state "Keep Help and Settings in the Overflow Menu".

    There's also the over-use of navigation drawers... apps like Keep, Chromecast Setup, and others have navigation drawers with 3 items that could be replaced with static tabs instead.

    I realize they are "guidelines" and not "requirements", and that I'm being nitpicky, but it just adds more inconsistency to the platform as a whole when Google themselves make design decisions like this. *sigh*

    • miri

      "The design docs clearly state..."
      Stopped reading there. They're not laws and often greatly underestimate the user. The primary purpose of design guidelines is to simplify the development process and reduce easily avoidable poor design decisions. The responsibility of the developer, first and foremost, is to do what makes the most sense for what they're trying to accomplish. If you have a barren to average nav drawer then it's perfectly reasonable to fill it out a little more by putting settings, help, etc. there. If you have a crowded nav drawer like YouTube, you may not want to include them there. It's been proven time and time again that as long as things are clearly labeled and in a logical place, the user will be able to find them without issue no matter how the software is designed. The rest is just designers designing for designers.

      • Mitch Ware

        Well the problem is not that the settings options isn't clearly labled or in a logical place, I'm sure everyone who uses Google Play Games or Google Music will be able to figure out how to get to the settings page from the drawer. The problem is why move it in the first place when 1) settings was already established to exist in the overflow menu in previous versions of those apps and 2) the settings option exists in the overflow menu of almost every other app? Moving the location of the settings menu after the fact will almost undoubtedly create confusion; unless every app that Google creates has a drawer with the settings option in it, there will always be a disconnect between apps that place the settings option in the drawer and apps that place it in the overflow menu. It just doesn't make sense. Designers don't just move things around to move them around.

        All I'm getting at is that the current state of android app design clearly could use more polish, more focus, and more uniformity across the board. Google realized this and created the design guidelines to help improve that. They give app creators a starting point to base their design decisions off of, as well as explanations to the pre-existing design decisions that were made with each version release, in hopes that future apps will somewhat follow the guidelines and add cohesiveness to the platform overall. But when Google themselves release apps that do the exact opposite, sometimes for no good reason at all, it seems like a step backwards in the opposite direction.

        • miri

          By clearly labeled I mean calling the 'configuration screen' settings, preferences, or something that clearly indicates that tapping on the trigger will take you to a screen where you can configure the app and if icons are involved using a gear, sliders or something people associate with inner workings or configuration.

          By logical location I mean within one of the app's main menus and not buried on a random screen.

          Both are accomplished just fine and users will find what they're looking for with little to no issue. The uniformity you're after is actually quite unnecessary and in the long run may cause more harm than good as absolute uniformity is impossible and aiming for it only serves to make the exceptions, even if they are perfectly good apps, jarring. The most important part is getting good design in the hands of users, not promoting an agenda. In the end the average user doesn't care if everything looks and works exactly the same, only if they can figure it out and it can do what they want. The rest, again, is just designers catering to each other and pushing their [unattainable] concepts for how everything should be. I can understand if you want uniformity for to resolve your own pet peeves but, trust me, it's not a usability issue.

  • Mystery Man

    Flappy bird

  • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php Apple is a patent troll

    Its great that emulators don't need this piece of crap since there are much better games out there than what this support.

    • primalxconvoy

      In order for me to join this, they need to remove Google minus (g+) and redesign android to be fully external joypad friendly at the os and stock launcher level (with forced landscape/forced auto rotate mode enabled by default.

      Otherwise, in not interested in "premium Faber services" on a touch screen.

  • andy_o

    How about if you actually don't wanna show which games you're playing, like not showing up on your circles' Play Games list?

    • miri

      I'm guessing that could be accomplished by unchecking all your circles when you sign in.

      • andy_o

        Ah sorry, should have said on people who have me on circles. I see people whom I have in circles but they don't have me in theirs. I don't think it can be done, but I'll check again.

        • miri

          Got it. If you're playing the game for the first time, it should ask you who can see your activity and that you've signed into the game. Uncheck everything. If you've already signed in either:
          A. Go to the Google Settings app > Connected apps then find the game
          B. Open the game, find your way to the achievements or leaderboards screen the go to settings

          Then uncheck everything under the second option labeled "Who can see that you've signed in to this app and your app activities on Google"

          • andy_o

            That's weird, I clearly remember going into the app settings on my Google account and not being able to do much. Thanks.

  • René Simonsen

    Still no way to search for titles that support specific Play Games services? I find it's really hard to find games with for example cloud save.