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Google Play Service 7.0 converts your Android phone into a game controller for Android TV

Google is rolling out Google Play Service 7.0, new developer APIs include the ability to use your Android phone or tablet as a game controller for Android TV.

Published onMarch 3, 2015

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Google has announced a few great things at Mobile World Congress this year. Ranging from their plans to put unmanned drones above our heads all the way down to a simple update to Google Play Service. Ah, but this is no ordinary update, Google Play Service 7.0 introduces its own set of good things, including the ability to use your Android phone as a video game controller for your Android TV set-top box.

As is usually the case with updates to Google Play Services, it may be a little while before we see these new features go live on our devices. The update does not automatically make these features available, instead, it opens up APIs for developers to work with in order to create apps for these features.

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The short list of new items in Google Play Service 7.0 includes an improved Location settings dialog, to better inform the user when and how location services need to be used for an app. A new Places API, that allows developers to pull from Google’s database of places and business, not just GPS coordinates or addresses.

Google Fit sees a big bump, opening half a dozen new APIs, allowing devs to tap into sensors, recording, history and more. Google Mobile Ads have also been updated for optimizations on battery usage and better Analytics tracking. App Indexing sees an updated API, allowing apps to be better searched by Google on your device. And more.

The big one here, which I’ve made you wait to read about, Google Play Games now has a Nearby Connections API. This API serves one amazing purpose, to allow your Android phone or tablet to operate as a video game controller to your Android TV hooked to the big screen. More than just a simple A, B, Up, Down etc. controller, your phone or tablet can operate as a second screen to your TV, adding additional controls, or just cleaning the main display of clutter.

I imagine myself playing a first-person shooter, in which I must look down to the device in my hands to reload my gun. A touch of reality that may or may not appeal to all users.

Head over to the Google Developer blog for all the details on the Google Play Service 7.0 update.

What do you say, are you excited for any of the new features made possible with Google Play Service 7.0?