Google today announced the availability of Google Play services version 8.4 for building Android apps.
With this new package, Android developers can now incorporate actual app content into custom email messages for App Invites, a feature that lets end users send other people invitations to use apps.
“So, for example, if you have a favorite cooking app that you want to share with your friends, your invite to use the app can include a favorite recipe from the app,” developer advocate Laurence Moroney wrote in a blog post. “They get the immediate benefit of being able to access the desired content, giving them a more informed choice about whether or not they decide to install the app to get richer and more content.”
Google first introduced App Invites in May and started letting developer customize the images and call-to-action buttons in Play services version 8.1 in September. Today’s feature update could help Google boost usage of Android apps even further.
But perhaps the most exciting part of this update is how Google is starting to give developers a sense of what to expect. Now, through the getChurnProbability, getSpendProbability, and getSpendPercentile calls to the Player Stats application programming interface (API), Play services offers predictions of user churn and user spend on games for the week ahead.
The Google Maps API has received enhancements that allow users to tap and zoom in or out on a specific area on a map with a polygon around an area. For instance, think of a single neighborhood in San Francisco.
And Android apps can also get smarter about identifying a device’s location with this version of Play services. The Fused Location Provider feature, which relies on GPS, Wi-Fi, and cell towers, can now make a calculation using not one but multiple cell towers. And the detection using Wi-Fi is better now, especially indoors, Moroney wrote.
Today’s update, which is available through the Android Studio integrated development environment (IDE), follows Play services 8.3, which was released last month.