As evidence mounts that the official release of Android L may be days away, Google began rolling out yet another update to Play services, just one week after the previous update. As it turns out, there's a bit more than just a new icon, a few UI tweaks, and the usual bug fixes. This version brings some finishing touches to a couple of features, no doubt getting them ready to launch alongside the next version of Android. There aren't strictly any new features here, but there's some interesting progression on some things we already knew about.


Nearby Players

About a month ago, another teardown revealed a new matchmaking component called Nearby Players. Using the existing location services, and with the help of some other sensors on the device, Google will be able to help people find each other in the real world for games that may benefit from physical proximity.


Yes, the circle background does shift, but it's correct.

With the latest update, we now have the animations that will be used to indicate that your device is searching for somebody in the vicinity. Both of these animations are made up of a human silhouette drawn inside of a pair of bars, somewhat resembling a wi-fi status indicator. The pattern of the two animations is clearly different, with the squared image maintaining a steady dot in the center with the bars radiating outward, while the other image blinks its dot right before the two bars fade in. The background of the circle also shifts slightly to the right during its progression while the central symbol remains stationary. On a device, this glitch probably won't be noticeable, but it stands out quite a bit here.

The new animations will be accompanied by a new screen called games_inbox_nearby_players, which appears to be a part of organizing a meeting, or managing multiple arrangements.

Achievements With Progress Bars

This will be something of a minor detail, but there is also a new screen coming to achievements. A new layout named games_achievement_description_activity has just shown up that will serve to give a view to individual achievements. It doesn't appear to be all that different from the current incarnation besides adding a progress bar, but it may become useful for developers that want to add more information about their achievements.

Personal Unlock Becomes Smart Lock

It looks like there has been a last minute branding change. What was once called "Personal unlocking" during the Google I/O 2014 keynote has been renamed to "Smart Lock."

<string name="auth_google_trust_agent_title">Personal unlocking</string>
<string name="auth_personal_unlocking_name">Personal unlocking</string>
<string name="auth_personal_unlocking_service_name">Personal unlocking (Google)</string>

<string name="auth_google_trust_agent_title">Smart Lock</string>
<string name="auth_personal_unlocking_name">Smart Lock</string>
<string name="auth_personal_unlocking_service_name">Smart Lock (Google)</string>

My guess is that Google realized this feature could evolve into something that wasn't strictly personal, and may not be exclusively about unlocking as much as it's about controlling when the lockscreen should be secure. What does that mean? Your guess is as good as mine, but I wouldn't be surprised if the system eventually allowed ways to permit access to multiple people (e.g. spouses, children, friends) or when certain environmental conditions are met (e.g. geography, which is already a part of this, or time of day).


That appears to be about it. The changes aren't exactly massive, but this is likely a lot of bug fixes and a few late additions before the big announcement. Given that Smart Lock and Nearby Players received last-minute attention, I wouldn't be surprised if they are featured rather prominently.

Looking forward to it!