Now that Google is through with its biggest developer conference of the year, it's time to deliver a few updates and fulfill some of the promises made during the event. Some of that is happening through an update to Play services. Google posted the release notes for the update and it includes a lot of additions, both big and small, and a few deprecations. Read More
Play Store betas offer a simple way to get the newest features in your favorite apps as soon as possible. Google runs a few of them, and today it's adding Play Services and Gboard to the list. Just a few clicks and you can be running the latest goodies (and maybe some bugs) early. Read More
The time has finally come to say a fond farewell to Gingerbread. In a manner of speaking, that is. Back in November, Google announced Play services v10.0 would be the last release to support Android 2.3. In fact, Honeycomb was simultaneously deprecated as the minimum supported version was elevated to API level 14, also known as Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. As Play services v10.2 completes its wide rollout to Android devices, that time has officially come. Google posted a list of changes to Play services v10.2 and featured the news about leaving Gingerbread behind. Read More
The recent rollout of Google Play services v10.2 came with a cool new Instant Tethering feature that automatically enables a small set of devices to sip on a shared cellular signal when they're in need. Aside from a couple of minor tweaks, that appears to be the only major functional change we're supposed to access at this time. However, that doesn't mean there aren't a few other things waiting to be revealed. Fresh additions to the APK reveal new data types coming to the Google Fit API. There's also support baked in for the new FIDO Alliance U2F tokens for secure authentication. Read More
One of the more interesting features shown off at Google I/O last year was Instant Apps, a new way to run Android applications without any installation. For example, during the presentation it was shown how tapping a Buzzfeed video link would play the content in the Buzzfeed app, only downloading the parts required for video playback. Keep in mind that this is different from the streaming apps functionality Google introduced in 2015. Read More
Android 2.3 Gingerbread, according to Google, still runs on approximately 1.3% of devices hitting the Play Store every month. But with Google Play Services 10.0.x, Google is placing an end-marker for the OS's support of the Play Services package going forward, which signals what is essentially the final death of the platform as far as Google is concerned. When Play Services 10.2 arrives, it will leave behind Android's crunchiest iteration. Read More
As we close in on the end of the year, Google's developers are lining things up for possible late-2016 launches or preparing to test features they plan to launch next year. With the rollout of Google Play services v10.0, a couple of those things stand out as current projects. There are signs final testing has begun for Instant Apps, Google's way to give users a way to use apps without actually installing them. It also looks like some progress has been made towards enabling Android Pay to work through Android Wear. Read More
If the people in your home get regular use of a Chromecast, you're probably more than aware of just how inconvenient it is when the Casting device isn't handy. Sure, you can always pick up your phone or tablet and track down the Google Home app (formerly named Google Cast), but that takes a lot of taps – and most people don't have it installed or even realize it has player controls. The latest update to Google Play services takes care of this little issue by adding a long overdue and oft-requested feature: it pops up a notification with player controls anytime a Cast session is active. Read More
Google's Safe Browsing feature has been around since 2007, and has protected millions of people from harmful threats on the internet. It's a blacklist of harmful websites, such as those distributing malware and phishing scams, that Google actively updates every day. The database is used by Chrome, Firefox, and even Safari to ensure users can be as safe as possible online.
Back at Google I/O, Google announced they would make an official API for applications to check a given website in the Safe Browsing database. Starting with Google Play Services 9.4, developers can finally use the API in their apps.
The Safe Browsing API uses the latest version of the Safe Browsing Network Protocol, meaning it's designed to be as quick (and use up as little cellular data) as possible. Read More