Google Play Services 6.5 Adds Granular API Functionality



Google has released Google Play Services 6.5, which includes a number of new API functions from the original 6.0 release. Google added new entry points for the Google Maps and Google Drive APIs, and a "Donate with Google" button was added for the Google Wallet API. Finally, it added the recently released Google Fit API to Google Play Services 6.5. With the 6.5 release, Google aims to offer more granular control over Google Play Services APIs to maintain leaner apps.

Google added a number of functions to the Google Maps Android API. First, a toolbar allows users to get turn-by-turn directions to a selected marker. Additionally, Google rolled out a "lite mode" option for Google Maps. Lite mode specifies a smaller area than the entire Google Maps API. The smaller map constitutes a bitmap image of a map at a zoom level. The smaller map allows users to interact with the map in ways unavailable with the full Google Maps API. If a user needs to switch to the full service, a tap launches the standard Google Maps.

In the Google Drive API, users can now add both application private and public file properties to a Google Drive file. This allows applications to include sophisticated search queries, and disparate apps can save information with the changes preserved across apps and devices. Additionally, users can specify when files are uploaded based on circumstances such as network connection and battery levels.

The Google Wallet API already included "Buy with Google" and "Save to Google" buttons. With 6.5, Google added a Donate with Google button that apps can utilize to easily donate and collect funds.

Finally, the Google Fit SDK was released in October. With Google Fit, fitness apps can easily communicate with sensors, activity recording data and aggregated fitness data through a single API. This release streamlines adding sessions with predefined time periods, and Google will add examples to spur more Google Fit innovation.

As Google has added more APIs to Google Play Services, a single entry point to the entire Google Play Services Library has bogged down some apps. To maintain lean apps, Google has enabled the ability to integrate with only the APIs needed. Users can pick a single API, multiple APIs or the entire batch of Google Play Services APIs. With this functionality, an app can limit API Integration only to those that it uses. To learn more, visit the Android Developers Blog

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