While Google app updates like the two we saw arrive for Camera and Wallet today may be the more visible way Google keeps its Android software fresh and relevant, the behind-the-scenes stuff where it makes new features available to third-party devs is arguably just as important, if not more so. Already this year we’ve seen Google deliver update after update to Google Play services, with new releases coming out in January, February, and most recently in March. While April passed without anything new, Google’s now ready for its latest improvements to Play services to go live, announcing the changes this afternoon.
Let’s dive what in to what’s new in Google Play services 4.4: separate from that Wallet app update we learn of changes to Wallet’s Instant Buy API, making it easier for devs to add Wallet support to existing apps. The Maps API gains a big new feature, now supporting embeddable Street View content, and also gives devs more control over how indoor maps work.
Google’s Location API gets a little smarter about recognizing activity types, expanding upon its ability to detect foot travel by now differentiation between walking and running. Play Games sees a minor change to how it handles gifting, now letting users choose multiple recipients. And finally, advertising changes include support for promos concerning in-app content and better targeting of distinct user groups.
While little of this directly effects you, the end user, right now, you’ll start to enjoy the benefits of this update as devs begin implementing these new API calls.