Google Expands Play Games' Multiplayer Function to iOS
Google today announced several updates to its Play Games service that will benefit both Android and iOS devices. To start, Google said it is bringing a new service to Play Games called game gifts. With game gifts, players will be able to send virtual, in-game objects to anyone in their gaming circles. Gamers can now send multiplayer invites directly, making it easier for players to find one another. Google is expanding the gaming section in the Play Store with 18 new categories to further refine the searching and browsing experience. Further, Google is expanding multiplayer support to Apple's iOS, which will let Android and iOS device owners play one another in real-time. Google said developers can access a new version of the Play Games Unity Plug-in to enable cross-platform multiplayer support, as well as an updated Play Games C++ SDK to help with achievements and leaderboards. Google said it is improving statistics via the Google Play Developer Console, which gives developers a dashboard to let them visualize engagement with their apps on a daily basis. Game developers can find more information about these new tools via Google's developer portal.
Facebook to Make Its Instant Articles Compatible with Google, Apple Formats
Facebook wants content to be more readable across the web and took steps this week toward that goal by tweaking the SDK for its Instant Articles. Facebook's Instant Articles give publishers a way to streamline content for consumption on mobile devices, but Instant Articles aren't compatible with the mobile-first styles used by Google and Apple.
Apple Debuts HomePod, Its Competitor to Google Home and Amazon Echo
Apple today announced the HomePod, a new in-home speaker similar to the Google Home and Amazon Echo. It features the Siri voice-based assistant and can act on spoken requests with a focus on music.
Google Uses Machine Learning to Tweak Sheets
Google today rolled out new features for its Sheets spreadsheet application. Most of the new features target the desktop-based version of Sheets.
Google to Let Android Users Trial Games from Search
Google gave developers a handful of new tools to improve the gaming experience for Android device owners. Perhaps the most significant of the new tools is one that will allow people to trial games for up to 10 minutes directly from Google search results.