Google Play Services 7.5
Written by Lucy Black   
Friday, 05 June 2015

Smart Lock for Passwords, Instance ID, new APIs for Google Cloud Messaging and Google Cast, access to the Google Maps API on Android Wear devices and API enhancements  for Google Fit are all included in the new rollout of Google Play services. There's also a beta for building user referral called App Invites.

Google announced the availability of Google Play Services 7.5 at last week's I/O developer conference and its list of significant new features is a long one.

The first item, Smart Lock for Passwords, aims to eliminate, or at least reduce, the requirement to type in a password on a mobile device, something that can be a frustrating experience, by recognizing when a user has already logged in to an app on the web or on another device. It builds on the Chrome Password Manager and provides a new API that will retrieve saved credentials as part of a login process and will save new credentials for later use on other Android devices and any Chrome browser. 

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Still on the topic of authentications, Instance ID (IID) is a new feature that retrieves a unique identifier for every app instance, providing a mechanism to authenticate and authorize actions, even if your app does not have user registration and accounts.

Google Cloud Messaging, a mechanism for sending information to your users as well as sending messages from a device to a server can now take advantage of Instance ID to enable you to send push notifications to all of a user's devices. IID also permits topic based subscriptions making it easy to publish a message not only to the right audience but also to all subscribed instances.

Two new classes in GCM, GcmReceiver and a subclass of GcmListenerService  have been provided to help apps reliably process messages, even when the device is awakened from deep sleep. A new set of APIs are included to help apps sync data with services by handling many of the common implementation patterns such as waiting for network connectivity, device charging, network retries, and backoff. GcmNetworkManager will schedule your background tasks when it is most appropriate and can batch multiple tasks together for efficiency and battery savings.

New APIs for Google Cast should enable devs to take better advantage of the technology that lets you display content from a mobile device or laptop directly to a TV or speakers in three important areas of functionality:

  • Remote Display API allows you to build a tailored, integrated second screen experience, without requiring an identical mirroring of content between mobile devices and the Google Cast device.

  • Autoplay and Queuing APIs to ensure that connected devices can maintain a synchronized queue of upcoming media items, opening up new possibilities of creating collaborative Google Cast media experiences.

  • For multiplayer games new Game Manager APIs make it easier to send messages and state changes to all connected clients and the cast receiver. 

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The Maps APIs have now been extended to Android Wear devices so that a smart watch can display fully interactive maps to show you where you are complete with  scroll and zoom interactive maps, show the user’s current location. 

New APIs also extend the usefulness of Google Fit, the open platform for building fitness apps by retrieving sensor data like current location and speed, collecting and storing activity data, or automatically aggregating that data into a single view of the user’s fitness data. Specifically Play Services 7.5 introduces the RecordingApi for gathering estimated distance traveled and calories burned data, making it available to your app and other Google Fit enabled apps via the HistoryApi. Strength training data, for which you record type of excercise, resistance and number of repetitions can now be stored in Google Fit via new support for a large number of workout exercises, helping users build a complete view of their activity.

Finally, App Invites, currently in beta  is new functionality for both Android and iOS that enables an app to send invites via SMS or email as a method of growing your user base and is intended to to take the hard work out of building user referral and onboarding flows. 

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Last Updated ( Friday, 05 June 2015 )