Google I/O 2013 Reveals New APIs, Services, Google Play Games


We’ve been looking forward to this moment for weeks, and now that Google I/O 2013 is underway, today’s keynote has begun, we’re finally learning just how many of all those rumors we’ve heard are actually coming to pass.

There have been a number of leaks about new Google Play Services, culminating in the recent leak of the new code along with Google Play Games support. We’ll get to gaming in a moment, but that’s only a portion of the new services coming to the platform.

Google’s introducing a number of new APIs for developers to take advantage of in constructing some advanced apps. One is the Fused Location Services API, providing tools for apps to know your location. The big news here is improvements to reduce battery consumption, eating up just about 1% of capacity per hour that the service is in use.

Activity Recognition capitalizes on the popularity of fitness tracking apps. The API doesn’t use GPS, and instead relies on sensor data, like from you accelerometer, to figure out what sort of activity you’re up to. It should be able to detect when you’re carrying your phone on a walk, bike ride, or even driving.

Then there’s Geofences, which let apps set boundary zones, and detect when a user enters or leaves the area. This could lead to more easily implementing features like check-ins at businesses.

GPS is also getting some new Google Cloud Messaging features, giving developers more tools to connect with users. New features here include persistent server-to-Google connections, the ability for users to initiate communications, and cross-device notification sync. That last one’s a big deal, as it will let you more easily juggle multiple Androids.

Google’s gaming service has been rumored for weeks, and it goes official today. Everything we heard is there, like achievements, matchmaking, and leaderboards. Maybe most importantly, there’s also the much-demanded ability to save games to the cloud. Beyond just Android, Google will be bringing these gaming features to iOS and web-based games.

These new Google Services are on their way out now, and should be hitting Androids running Froyo or later in the coming days.

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!