Google Play Services v3.0 Adds Google+ Sign-In
Google today made a new version of Google Play Services available to Android developers. The big change in version 3.0 is the addition of Google+ sign-in. According to Google, this allows users to sign in to apps with their existing Google credentials and port in their Google+ data for an "upgraded experience." It behaves similar to how some apps allow users to create accounts and sign in via Facebook. Google thinks this will help developers gain traction with their apps by making them more interactive with Google's own services. It will allow users to more easily share in-app content with Google+, as well. Google also today updated its Android Maps API for developers. This update mainly fixes bugs, but also adds a few features such as new map shapes such as circles, and anti-clockwise polygons. Android developers can access these new tools via the Android developer portal.
Google Play Services 8.3 Improves Sign-In Experience
Google today announced the availability of Play Services 8.3, an update to the core APIs that allows developers to do new things with the operating system. Play Services 8.3 updates the Google Sign-In API to provide a more consistent look across Google products.
Android 2.3 Gingerbread Officially No Longer Supported
Google has put Android 2.3 Gingerbread out to pasture. The update this month follows an announcement Google first made in November regarding Play Services 10.2, which severs backward compatibility with devices running Android 2.3 and older.
Google Games Drops Google+ Requirement
Google has made it easier for owners of Android devices to sign-in to and use Google Games. Moving forward, players will only have to sign-in once per account, rather than once per game, and players no longer need to have a Google+ account to use Play Games services.
Play Services 7.5 Adds Smart Lock and Other APIs
Google today announced Play Services 7.5, an update to the underlying set of code most Android devices rely on for accessing the Play Store and various features within applications. Play Services 7.5 is a big step forward and adds a broad range of new functionalities and associated APIs for developers.
Google Releases New Play Services SDK for Devs
Google has spent the last few weeks pushing Google Play Services 8.4 to Android devices and today released the SDK developers need to access the new features within. Most of the benefits of Play Services 8.4 are developer facing, rather than end-user facing.