Google has announced that they have completed the rollout of Google Play Services 5.0 which should bring exciting new features for developers and users alike. Here is the short version of everything that’s new in case you need a quick refresher:
- Android Wearable Services API: necessary for Android Wear functionality.
- Dynamic security provider API
- Google Play Games: Quests and Save Game API. Quests allow you to give players timed challenges that they can complete for recognition or in-game rewards, while the Save Game Snapshot API enables cloud game saving so players can pick up where they left off no matter which device they use.
- App Indexing API: used to allow developers to enable deeper search results in applications, as well as enabling deep pages within their apps to show up within Google.
- Google Cast SDK: now includes closed caption support in Chromecast.
- Google Drive API: adds ability to sort results of a query, create folders while offline and select any MIME type in the file picker.
- Google Wallet: “Save to Wallet” functionality allows users to easily save offers, coupons and loyalty cards from within an app to your Google Wallet account. Google Wallet can now remind you to scan your loyalty card whenever they detect you at one of the business you have an offer with. Finally, Instant Buy now supports split tenders so you can defer the rest of your payment to a debit or credit card in case your Wallet balance doesn’t have enough funds.
This release also enables the “OK, Google” hotword functionality from within any screen on your phone. Some folks might still not be able to access this option in Google Now as that is controlled by a server-side switch instead of an app update, but it shouldn’t be long before Google starts enabling it for everyone (I only just received the feature this morning). Enjoy!