A fresh update of Google Play Services is headed out to our Android hardware around the world. This brings the framework package up to v8.4 and actually carries a couple of user-facing changes for us to check out. There's nothing too big, which is pretty normal for a Play services update, but there are some nice visual touch-ups for Smart Lock and a new option in the Android Auto developer options. But that's not all, a teardown shows that we're getting much closer to family organization (yes, for family sharing) and app invites will finally become useful as they can finally be sent to the people that need them most – the people right next to us. Read More
Google began rolling out v8.3 of the Play services framework a few weeks ago, and it looks like it's in a wide release. While this version didn't present with any direct user-facing features and only a few cryptic hints for a teardown, it did bring some definite improvements to the Play services SDK. There are some changes to streamline the sign-in experience for app developers and users alike, along with some additional enhancements that should make it easier for developers to set up new user accounts. New APIs have also been added to make data delivery more efficient between a phone and an Android Wear watch. Read More
The rollout for Google Play services v8.1 is complete and now it's time to open the floodgates for developers to begin working with some of the changes. When new versions come out, it's fairly common for Google to hold back a few extra details to be announced after the rollout has completed. This time around, there are improvements for the Maps API, Nearby API, and App Invites. The previously announced Play Games Play Stats API has been added, and Google has advice on properly handling Android 6.0 permissions. There are also a couple of minor breaking changes that have to be dealt with too. Read More
Android Pay has been a hot topic in the last weeks after a series of memos and promotional materials turned up with the supposed August 26th launch date. As it turns out, Google hadn't yet distributed the necessary software to enable Android Pay for use on phones. That changes with version 8.1 of the Play services apk, which began rolling out Friday afternoon. A look around inside of the app also suggests there has been a bit more progress on the long-anticipated Kid Accounts. As of this release, there is also an important change to the convention Google uses for identifying Play services apk variants for different devices. Read More
It has been almost a month since Google Play services 7.8 began rolling out to users, and as of yesterday, it is in wide release to everybody. A previous blog post by Google discussed the big new feature for developers would be the Nearby Messages API, but it turns out there are a couple of other additions worth checking out. In a new post on the Android Developers blog, Google announced a new Mobile Vision API with the ability to detect the presence, orientation, and some details of faces when they are in frame on an active camera. Read More
The long-awaited Nearby is on the horizon, and it will be launching with Play Services 7.8. The APK is in the midst of its rollout right now. It contains a few elements of Nearby, and surely plenty of bug fixes and tweaks, but there are also plenty of interesting pieces hidden inside, as well. After a quick long examination, we've got the interesting bits and pieces ready for viewing, along with some theories about what it all means. It's time for a teardown!
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
Google finally let the curtain fall on the long-anticipated Nearby API that enables detection and easy connection with other devices in close proximity. The new API was announced with Play services v7.8, but the SDK won't be released until that version has gone into wide release, which will happen in about two weeks. This gives Google a chance to identify some of the bugs that may have slipped through during development, and collect feedback from a larger set of devices in the real world. Of course, we've also got links to download the apk if you don't feel like waiting.
Like most updates to Play services, there's not all that much to see on the user-facing side. Read More
Last year we received information that Google was working on an initiative called "Nearby" that would enable Android devices to communicate with people, places, and devices that were in close proximity. In the time since, things have mostly been silent. We've seen similar functionality pop up in the likes of Chromecast guest mode and trusted devices, but not the full shebang.
Now, Google is taking the feature public. In a post over on its developers blog, the company details ways in which Nearby will make sharing information with someone nearby easier than exchanging account information or scanning QR codes. Read More
In Part 1 of this teardown, we saw what may be the return of Android@Home, or at least something similar. There were also new pieces to Nearby, Google's unique technology for finding two devices (and people) in close proximity, and a possible (subtle) change to the way Smart Lock responds to wearable devices. In Part 2, we'll continue with the possible centralization of Chrome Sync to Play services, project Sidewinder, a mysterious appearance by Facebook, and more.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. There is always a chance that details may change or plans may be cancelled prior to the launch of a new feature discovered in a teardown.