Google's previously announced enhancement to the Verify Apps framework is rolling out to users now, according to the official Android blog. Your device already has the standard Verify Apps system built-in that scans at the time of installation, but the new version will be watching all the time for suspicious activity.
Verify Apps compares each app you install with known malware signatures, but there's always a possibility you are downloading a form of malware that hasn't been identified yet.
An update to Google Play Services is now being released to devices worldwide. This release will be more of interest to developers than end users, but there is actually quite a lot here. In addition to some updates to Play Games services and the Drive API, Google has brought Analytics, Tag Manger, and a new Address API into the fold as well.
Android malware isn't as big of a concern as some mainstream media reports would have you believe, but it is enough of an issue that Google started beefing up its security a few years ago. There's the "Bouncer" server-side scanning that checks apps before they go live, and your device runs app verification as new packages are installed. Now Google is about to patch a hole in the local app scanning by making it run continuously.
The recent release of Google Play Services 4.2 brought with it some exciting additions like the official Cast API and significantly improved support for Google Drive. One of the lesser publicized additions is the official launch of GoogleApiClient, a new component intended to simplify setting up and managing connections to Google's assorted API endpoints. Additionally, there is now support for queuing up read-only queries and a choice of executing calls synchronously or asynchronously.
Sometimes relatively insignificant software bugs come together in what can only be described as a perfect storm, wreaking havoc and leaving the victims without recourse. Only a few days after the KitKat announcement, complaints of some rather odd behavior on Nexus devices (mostly Nexus 4s) running Android 4.3 started popping up around XDA, the Google Product Forum, and the AOSP Issue Tracker. People were waking up to find alarms failing to go off and most of their apps crashing instantly.
If you're noticing some fishy battery behavior today, and it looks like Google Play Services is the culprit, you aren't alone. Throughout the day, users have been reporting extraordinary battery use by the usually innocuous services app, accounting for up to 50% of battery usage. It would seem that, for reasons unknown, Play Services is keeping users' devices awake for incredible lengths of time. Some users report that location is disabled on their devices, ruling that out as a suspect for the increased battery drain.
In our recent APK/website teardown, we unearthed Android's upcoming remote device lock functionality through Google Play Services, and now it has quietly gone live in the Android Device Manager. Just head to the management interface and you'll have a new Lock button. Click it, and your lost device can be secured instantly.
The functionality is incredibly robust. Even if you have your device locked with a pattern, PIN, or other method, the Device Manger will instantly override it.
Google Play Games has done wonders to tie game scores and achievements to our Google+ profiles and show us who's kicking the most butt in any particular title. Yet information has thus far been scattered across individual apps and Google+, limiting the value of the experience. Today Google is rolling out a standalone app consolidating all of this content in one place.
The new app can display achievements unlocked in individual games, those that a player has yet to unlock, and leaderboards for every different map within a specific game.