Play Services 4.1 brings better battery life when location reporting is on, and some new features

January 10, 2014
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google_play_services

Google Play Services is now receiving an update to version 4.1, bringing improved battery life when location reporting is active, turn-based multiplayer support, a new Google Drive API, and more.

Play Services is the framework of Google services that developers can use to build and enhance their apps. Last updated following the release of Android 4.4 KitKat, the app runs as a background process giving other apps access to Google-powered features like maps, Google Plus integration, Play Games services, and more. The app is mostly important to Android developers, but updates eventually improve user experience, by allowing devs to create new features and improving performance and battery life.

The 4.1 update offers the following improvements to Play Services, as laid out on the Android Developers blog:

  • Improved battery life when Google Location Reporting is on – many users have been complaining that enabling location reporting drains the battery excessively. Location reporting runs in the background and uses Wi-Fi, cell networks, and GPS to determine the device’s location, which is useful for navigation apps, Google Now, check-in apps, running trackers, and other apps.
  • Turn-based multiplayer – developers can now implement turn-based multiplayer, including asynchronous games, with up to eight players. The way this works is that data is uploaded to Play Services following each turn and shared with other players automatically. This should make it easy for devs to create turn-based games, without having to create the infrastructure from scratch.
  • A preview of the new Google Drive API – opens up access to files stored in Google Drive. Apps will be able to easily read and write files to the user’s Drive account, with the update offering offline support and commonly used interface elements.
  • Google Mobile Ads will be able to better take advantage of location so you are served ads that are more relevant.
  • Improved support for Google Plus integration into apps, with better auto-complete and suggested users lists.

From a user’s perspective, the promise of better battery life is the most exciting, but all new features will eventually contribute to better apps, once devs begin to harness them. The Play Services app should update silently in the following days.

Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/happyhoppah Joshua Ingram

    How do I get the new update on CM 10.2?

  • Shark Bait

    Love how android automatically upgrades its self now !

  • najiy91

    damn the ads and location.damn google for taking privacy data and sell to nsa.

    • ;)

      fuck you

    • Kash Gummaraju

      Did you not agree to the terms and services agreement? It clearly states that Google has the right to access your info, and it’s not affecting your rights or your daily life in anyway. NSA isn’t going to knock on your door unless you’re a suspected threat to the United States. Stop complaining and think about whether the sudden news of NSA’s existence has stopped you from doing what you do. No company in the United States has the ability to resist the government. Google and other companies were asked to send information for the NSA to monitor and they had to obey. I also hope you realize that majority of Google’s money comes not from the nexus and gpe program, but its ads. You take away ads, and no more Glass, Nexus, GPE, Balloon, self-driving cars, Google Search, its other services, Android, and unbelievably valuable stocks. At this point everything is tied together. Google is able to continue what it does, mainly because of the ad-revenue. Location services are what get Maps to work, take them out and inaccurate directions.. You know the find my phone feature? Yeah that’s based on location services as well.

  • Jason Yuen

    This update took long enough. Specifically “google services” drains battery life when wifi/mobile network is used to find your location. Leaving GPS on was fine. Up until this update, on an average full day of use, my note 3 showed about 50% usage by google services because of a wake lock. These automatic updates should not be automatic. When the previous update came out, I suddenly found myself with several hours worth of battery life taken away because of google services and no idea why.

  • Albin

    Google refuses to move anything to the microSD card. Some of it is technically necessary but not most of it. Play has been bloated to too big for my internal storage, so I only “install it” for important updates and then uninstall it again. Who knows if this version will clog things up so much I have to decide between refusing updates to my apps or paying my own money instead of Google’s money for a newer phone. If Google wants more and more storage for its unwanted “services” in order to use the basics, maybe it will buy me my new phone.

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  • najiy91

    shame you all who has no privacy.ban nsa!

  • Guest

    Completely out of subject but, does anyone know when will ALL the Google Play services (Music, Books , etc..) come to all countries (Middle-East in particular)?