SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google announced on Wednesday that it has started rolling out an updated version of Play services, which it promises will make "apps better than before".
Google said in a blog post, "A new release of Google Play services has begun rolling out worldwide, and as usual we have a number of features that can make your apps better than before."
Chief among the new features is the ability to embed Street View imagery in apps, which will "enable users to explore the world through panoramic 360-degree views". With this, Google says developers can programmatically control the zoom and orientation of the Street View camera, as well as animate the camera's movements.
Speaking of movements, the Location API has added two new activity detectors, which means apps will know whether you are running or walking. Previously, the API had been able to detect if a user was in a car, on a bicycle or on foot.
Google's Games API has been given a slight tweak, with Google expanding on the Games Gifts feature it introduced in version 4.3 of Play services. It said, "Although there are no external API changes this time, the default requests sending UI has been extended to now allow the user to select multiple Game Gift recipients."
Beyond this, Google has also added new mobile ad APIs for publishers to display in-app promo ads, and has reduced the work involved to play a Buy With Google in an application.
Google said that Play services 4.4 will be available in a few days, and once available, developers will be able to download the SDK through the Android SDK manager to get started with the new APIs.
At the end of its blog post announcing Play Services 4.4, Google noted, "Coming up in June is Google IO, no need to say more," hinting that it will be announcing some big changes for developers next month, likely alongside the next version of Android. µ
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