Play Services 4.3 brings new APIs, implements game gifts, and other cool new features

March 18, 2014
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    Google is rolling out an update to Play Services, the collection of interfaces that Android developers can use to easily add new features to their apps.

    What‘s new in Google Play Services version 4.3? Here’s the rundown:

    • New APIs – Google Analytics API and Tag Manager API – previously available as standalone technologies, these APIs have now been integrated into Play Services. The Analytics API lets developers analyze the way users interact with their apps. For instance, devs can see what functionality users utilize the most or what’s the typical workflow for a certain feature. The Tag Manager API provides a simple way for developers to change some aspects of their apps (say, the color of a button) without having to roll out an update to the app.
    • New API – Address – this new API lets apps request access to stored addresses, for painless auto-filling of address fields. As an example, instead of having to fill out several fields in a shopping app, the app will simply ask if you want to auto-fill the fields using your stored address.
    • Play Games Services update – earlier today Google announced that game developers would soon be able to add virtual gifting to their games, as well as give players the ability to send multiplayer invitations to friends. Other big changes are the extension of multiplayer support to iOS devices, more game categories, and improved analytics and statistics. All of these features are part of the Play Services update rolling out now.
    • Updated Drive API – version 4.3 brings some new functionality to the Drive API, which was first introduced in Play Services 4.1, back in January. New functionality includes resource pinning, app folders, and change notifications.

    Like any change to Play Services, this update does not have a direct and immediate effect on regular users. However, the changes introduced now will certainly show up in apps down the road, and help improve Android apps in terms of quality and functionality.

    Update 4.3 is currently rolling out to all users and should hit your device soon; note that Play Services updates silently, so you won’t receive an update notification from the Play Store. The only way to see if your phone has received the update is to check the version number in Settings>Apps.

    For more details, head over to the Android Developers Blog.

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