Love it or hate it, Google+ is clearly a priority for Google. Today the company launched the new Google Play Services platform in order to give developers an easier way to integrate Google services and Google+ features into their apps.
The new platform consists of two different components. The first part is a services component that is delivered through Google Play and runs on Android devices. The second part is a client library that developers package with their apps.
Using Google Play to deliver the services part means that developers won't need to worry about carriers updating their Android versions in order to take advantages of updates to the platform. Basically, this allows Google to push updates to its products' Android APIs easily. It also means that developers don't have to worry about certain versions and builds of Android being incompatible with the services platform. The only catch is that Android 2.2 or higher needs to be in place. This shouldn't be a problem for most devices.
Here's what Google says about the rollout of the new service:
The rollout will cover all users on Android 2.2+ devices running the latest version of the Google Play store, and will take about a week to complete. Please wait for us to post that the rollout is complete before launching any apps on the store which use Google Play services… In the mean time, go grab the client library from Android SDK manager, check out our updated documentation, and start coding!
The idea of the Google Play Services platform is probably more exciting for developers, since it means that they have an easy and up-to-date way to work with Google+ and other parts of the Google ecosystem. Why does it matter to you and I? Directly it doesn't, but indirectly it means that more apps will start including Google+ sign-in capabilities, the +1 button and other social network features.