Location-based service Stories August 20, 2013

Google Play Services 3.2 now rolling out to all devices

Google today announced its finishing its roll out of Google Play Services 3.2, the latest version of its platform for delivering updates to its own apps and third-party apps using Google APIs. Version 3.2 includes a number of notable new features that end-users will benefit from, including a new compass mode for PhotoSphere that lets users navigate through PhotoSpheres by moving their device, and an improved InstantBuy UI that supports offers and loyalty data.

A few of the new features available for developers include improvements to location based services and hardware-based GPS geofencing:

The Fused Location Provider now supports the selection of a low-power mode option when requesting location updates, and the ability to inject mock locations — allowing you to more efficiently test your apps in a variety of simulated conditions.

The geofencing APIs have been updated to support hardware-based GPS geofencing on devices that have supporting hardware, such as the Nexus 4. Hardware geofences consume significantly less battery, and best of all your app will automatically take advantage of this feature on supported hardware without you having to make any changes.

Google also noted that a new Snapshot feature for the maps API will let devs “capture a bitmap image of the current map in order to improve performance when an interactive map isn’t necessary.” A simplified sharing control feature in the latest release will let developers using Google+ sign in (which also receives a shiny new animation) to simplify sharing to the social network.

The Google Play Services 3.2 release is now available for developers to test through an updated Google APIs emulator image in the Android SDK Manager. More info is available on the Android developers blog here.

Location-based service Stories November 15, 2011

There is good reason Google collects our geographic location data through wireless access points, specifically to deliver location services to devices such as our smartphones faster than technologies like GPS. However, in September Google made it clear that they will “go further in protecting people’s privacy” related to collecting user location data to facilitate location services. Today, they are putting their first new initiative in place to address concerns by allowing a new method to opt out of having your location data stored in the Google Location Server.

Google explains:

“We’re introducing a method that lets you opt out of having your wireless access point included in the Google Location Server. To opt out, visit your access point’s settings and change the wireless network name (or SSID) so that it ends with “_nomap.” For example, if your SSID is“Network,” you‘d need to change it to “Network_nomap.” 

A couple things to note:

1. The opt-out will become active the next time your device sends information to the Google Location Server with the _nomap tag, which will remove the access point from the server. The quickest way to do this- “open Google Maps on an Android Device with WiFi enabled, and use the My Location feature

2. Google is hoping all location service providers, who will start notice the SSID opt-out method, will adopt the “_nomap” tag as a industry standard and “unified opt-out process”.

Google has also posted a support guide walking you through location-based services and the new opt-out feature. You can find detailed instructions under “How do I opt out?”, which essentially just walks you through changing your access point’s SSID. expand full story

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