Google Updates Google Play Services for Application Developers

The latest Version 4.1 of Google Play Services includes a wide range of new features that Android developers can include in their apps.

Google has released a new version of Google Play Services, giving Android developers a chance to build more new features into their applications, including turn-based multiplayer support and improved battery life capabilities.

The new Version 4.1 of Google Play Services, which is already rolling out to users, was announced in a Jan. 9 post on the Android Developers Blog. Once the rollout has completed, developers will be able to download the Software Developer's Kit through the Android SDK manager and get started with the new APIs that are included in the latest release, according to the post.

One of the key features of the new version is that it supports turn-based multiplayer games, according to Google. Another benefit of Version 4.1 is that it also includes a preliminary API for integrating Google Drive into apps, which improves battery life for all users with Google Location Reporting enabled.

By incorporating the new turn-based multiplayer capabilities, developers can build asynchronous games to play with friends and auto-matched players, supporting two to eight players per game, the post states. "When players take turns, their turn data is uploaded to Play Services and shared with other players automatically."

Also included is an optional new "Connecting to Play Games" transition animation during player sign-in that appears before the permission dialog appears, according to the post. "This helps contextualize the permission dialog, especially in games that ask for sign in on game start."

The developer preview of the new Google Drive API for Android will help developers begin to find ways to use Google Drive with their apps. "You can use it to easily read and write files in Google Drive so they're available across devices and on the web. Users can work with files offline too—changes are synced with Google Drive automatically when they reconnect," the post continues.

Under Version 4.1, the Google Mobile Ads SDK now fully supports DoubleClick for Publishers, DoubleClick Ad Exchange and Search Ads for Mobile Apps, which means that developers can use a new publisher-provided location API to provide Google with a user's location for ad serving placement on mobile devices, according to the post.

The latest version also provides improved integration with Google+, which makes it easier for users to share with their friends from their apps, the post states. Those improvements include better auto-complete and suggested recipients from Gmail contacts, device contacts and people on Google+.