Google previewed Google Play services at Google I/O, and it finally just began the official launch of its new platform designed to help developers integrate Google products, such as Google+, into their apps. Google explained the platform “consists of a services component that runs on the device and a thin client library that you package with your app.” It also explained the services component is delivered through the Google Play Store, which means “updates to Google Play services are not dependent on carrier or OEM system image updates.” This also means devices running Android 2.2 and up will have access to the latest APIs for Google products through Google Play Store updates “within a few days.”

The rollout will cover all users on Android 2.2+ devices running the latest version of the Google Play store, and will take about a week to complete. Please wait for us to post that the rollout is complete before launching any apps on the store which use Google Play services… In the mean time, go grab the client library from Android SDK manager, check out our updated documentation, and start coding!

Google’s Tim Bray also highlighted in a blog post on the Android Developer’s blog that Google Play services provide OAuth 2.0 access to Android apps using Google APIs with a “good user experience and security”:

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The Internet already has too many usernames and passwords, and they don’t scale. Furthermore, your Android device has a strong notion of who you are. In this situation, the industry consensus is that OAuth 2.0 is a good choice for the job, offering the promise of strong security minus passwords.

Developers can get the client library from the Android SDK Manager, but Google is urging devs to wait for the rollout to finish before releasing any apps that utilize the new platform.

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