Google has started rolling out an updated version of its Play Services package for Android devices. The update includes several new features for developers to take advantage of in their applications. The first of these is the new Places API, which provides access to point-of-interest information:

Places API Location can be so much more than a latitude and longitude: the new Places API makes it easy to get details from Google’s database of places and businesses. The built-in place picker makes it easy for the user to pick their current place and provides all the relevant place details including name, address, phone number, website, and more.

The API also allows developers to add points of interest to the map, pull up nearby locations, and format everything in a custom UI if desired.

The Google Fit API has been broken up into several different APIs to help reduce the memory requirement for Fit apps running in the background:

In Google Play services 7.0, the previous Fitness.API that you passed into your GoogleApiClient has now been replaced with a number of APIs, matching the high level set of Google Fit Android APIs:

  • SENSORS_API to access raw sensor data via SensorsApi
  • RECORDING_API to record data via RecordingApi
  • HISTORY_API for inserting, deleting, or reading data via HistoryApi
  • SESSIONS_API for managing sessions via SessionsApi
  • BLE_API to interact with Bluetooth Low Energy devices via BleApi
  • CONFIG_API to access custom data types and settings for Google Fit via ConfigApi

An updated Location Services API now allows apps to ask users if they’d like to change certain location settings to get the best location data possible. Android will now determine if the optimal settings have been activated to get a correct location reading and suggest changes to the user, allowing them to update their settings in one tap.

Google has also made changes to its advertisement platform. The change will allow any implementation of Google’s mobile advertising API to take advantage of Google Analytics, providing developers with key information about their users, devices, and more.

A gaming-related enhancement allows apps to find nearby connections to other devices, letting phones and tablets connect to each other and serve as second-screen controls for games playing on external screens. Finally, app indexing has been improved to make implementation even easier, and a change allowing easier retrieval of Google API authentication tokens has been added.

Google Play Services 7.0 will roll out over the next few days.

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