Google Play Services is that app on your phone that doesn't look like it does anything, but actually does a lot of things. This is how Google rolls out new services and features to the core of Android sans OS updates. Today we've got the details on Play Services v5.0. This covers some of the features Google announced in the I/O keynote and a few smaller ones as well.
Here's the full changelog posted to the Android Developers blog.
- Services for Android wearables — Your apps can more easily communicate and sync with code running on Android wearables through an automatically synchronized, persistent data store and a reliable messaging interface.
- Play Games services — Build a great gaming experience with Quests, which allow event-based challenges for players to complete for rewards, Saved Games (a snapshot API allow synchronization of game data along with a cover-image and description), and Game Profile (providing experience points for players).
- App Indexing API — Surface deep content in your native mobile applications on Google search and drive additional user engagement.
- Google Cast — Use media tracks to enable closed-caption support for Chromecast.
- Drive — Sort query results, create offline folders, and select any mime type in the file picker by default.
- Wallet — Build a "Save to Wallet" button for offers directly into your app; use geo-fenced in-store notifications to prompt the user to show and scan digital cards. Split tender allows payment to be split between Wallet Balance and a credit/debit card in Google Wallet.
- Analytics — Get insights into the full user journey and understand how different user acquisition campaigns are performing with Enhanced Ecommerce, letting you measure product impressions, product clicks, and more.
- Mobile Ads — Use improved in-app purchase ads and integrations for the Play store in-app purchase API client.
- Dynamic Security Provider — Offers an alternative to the platform's secure networking APIs that can be updated more frequently, for faster delivery of security patches.
See? It's a big one. Of particular interest is the dynamic security provider. This feature allows Google to send out security fixes to devices without the a whole OS update. Android Wear will also use Play Services 5.0 to enable app data sync between devices and the watch. You can check the developer blog for a bit more detail. Google Play Services 5.0 should make its way to all devices over the next few days.
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.gms-5.0.81 (1250665-038).apk.
Version: 5.0.81 (Android 2.3+).
[Android Developers – Screen via Josh Crumley]