Google is now rolling out its Google Play Services 4.1 update, bringing a medley of additions and enhancements to developers who want to integrate Google services into their mobile apps — and broadening the range of games players can now play and developers can bring to the platform.
Play Games now support turn-based multiplayer, so developers can now build asynchronous games for up to eight players. Every time someone takes a turn, it uploads that data to Play Services and automatically shares it with other players.
Google is offering developers a “preview” of its new Google Drive API for Android, which they can use to read and write files in Google Drive. Players can work with the files both online and offline. (If they’re offline, changes will sync with Google Drive when they reconnect.)
Google+ is getting a boost as well with improved sharing features, which include auto-complete functionality and suggested recipients from Gmail contacts, device contacts, and Google+ users. These additions will make it “even easier for users to share with the right people from your app,” said Google.
Developers using Google’s ad products will see some additions to its Mobile Ads SDK, which now fully supports DoubleClick for Publishers, DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and Search Ads for Mobile Apps. Google is also ramping up publisher support for location-based advertising, offering developers the opportunity to tap into a location API to provide Google with location when requesting ads. “Location-based ads can improve your app monetization,” Google noted.
Lastly, the update also improves battery life for all users with location reporting enabled, said Google, although the company didn’t provide specific details suggesting how much of a battery boost Android users should expect.
Google Play Services 4.1 should be available for all Android devices within the next few days, after which time developers can download the SDK and start using the new APIs.
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