Yesterday, at the annual Game Developers’ Conference, Google told us a bit about the future of Google Play Games, with the company detailing a system of being able to gift in-game items to friends and family, as well as improved SDK tools for cross-platform multiplayer.
Those goods and more have been launched in Google Play Services 4.3, which is now rolling out to everyone across the globe. Aside from the new Google Play Games features already discussed, Google is bringing us a new suite of APIs for Google Drive. Here’s the full gamut of everything Google’s added in today’s update:
- Pinning – You can now pin files that should be kept up to date locally, ensuring that it is available when the user is offline. This is great for users that need to use your app with limited or no connectivity
- App Folders – An app often needs to create files which are not visible to the user, for example to store temporary files in a photo editor. This can now be done using App Folders, a feature is analogous to Application Data Folders in the Google Drive API
- Change Notifications – You can now register a callback to receive notifications when a file or folder is changed. This mean you no longer need to query Drive continuously to check if the data has changed, just put a change notification on it
Google is also releasing a new address API that will allow apps to request access to address fields from contacts to automatically fill out an address form. It’s great that those address fields will finally be put to good use other than the need to remember someone’s address the next time you’re trying to find out how to get to their house on Google Maps.
Finally, developers will enjoy improved analytics, as well as a new Tag Manager. The Tag Manager gives developers the ability to dynamically change app elements — such as menu or text colors — on the fly without having to issue a full app update. This would be perfect for an app that wants to change its colors to reflect the Christmas season, for instance, and then quickly revert back to normal colors once the festivities pass.
As usual, there’s no telling when or if developers will implement these new features into your favorite apps, so the best you can do is write to them and request that they improve their apps with these new tools.
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