Google Distributing Google Play Services 4.4
Google today announced the availability of Google Play Services 4.4, which is being rolled out to most Android devices beginning this week. Play Services 4.4 includes several new APIs, including a Google Maps' Street View feature. With the API, developers will be able to embed Street View imagery and 360-degree functionality into their own apps. The Maps API was also updated with new tools for indoor views of large public buildings, such as malls and shopping centers. Play Services 4.4 adds a new Location API that can detect if the device in hand is moving at walking or running speeds. Google thinks this will be beneficial to fitness apps. Google has updated the Games API and altered the user interface for sending gift/invite requests, which now allow the user to select multiple Game Gifts recipients. Play Services introduces a new advertising API that lets developers display in-app promo ads, which enables users to purchase advertised items directly. Last, Google updated APIs for Google Wallet. Developers can now use the Instant Buy API to embed the Pay With Google button into their apps more easily, and the Wallet Fragment API makes it easy to integrate Google Wallet Instant Buy with an existing app. Google Play Services are compatible with devices running Android 2.3 Gingerbread and up. The update will be rolled out gradually over the new few weeks.
Google Releases reCAPTCHA API to Improve Android Security
Google today announced a new tool developers can use to authenticate people securely while simultaneously improving the experience for mobile phone users. The company made available the new reCAPTCHA Android API as a part of Google Play Services.
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 Play Instant Lets You Test-Drive Games Without Downloading Them
Google today announced several changes to the Google Play Store and Google Play Games apps that should entice Android device owners to check out the latest games. A new feature called Google Instant Play lets people tap and try games directly in the Google Play Store and Google Play Games app without first downloading the game.
Google Play Services 9.0 Powers Video Capture, Beacons and Gaming
Google today outlined some of the new features in Google Play Services 9.0. Specifically, there are a handful of new APIs that will let developers add more functionality to their apps.
Google Play Services to Drop Support for Gingerbread
Google today said the next iteration of Google Play Services will sever backward compatibility with devices running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Today, Google Play Services — the core code behind app compatibility across Android platforms — is 10.0.0 and supports API level 9.