Google has released a software update to Android devices called Google Play Services 5.0. The update paves the way for the influx of Android Wear devices.
Google Play Services 5.0 includes new application programming interfaces (APIs) for developers creating apps for Android Wear devices. The APIs include a program messaging interface that allows the smartphone app and the wearable device to exchange commands and information. The APIs also give programmers with automatically sychronized data storage for information collected by the wearable device. This allows Android Wear smartwatches and other devices to record information such has heart rate and location and store it for analysis using the smartphone app.
Another prominent feature of the update is the App Indexing API. App Indexing allows a Google search on a mobile device to provide links not only to websites, but to pages on installed apps. Developers can use the App Indexing API to inform Google about deep links present in the app that Google can use to connect users that search for related terms.
"Integrating with the App Indexing API allows the Google Search app to serve up your app's history to users as instant Search suggestions, providing fast and easy access to inner pages in your app," says Google in a statement.
Google has also added new features for game developers. The most prominent of these is the saved game snapshot API. Developers can now sychronize saved games across multiple devices. That way a user can download the app on both a smartphone and a tablet without having to complete the same levels or tasks on each device separately. Developers can also use cover images to inform the user at a glance what level the game was on when it last closed. The update also includes a new feature to increase user engagement called "Quests."
"Quests are a new set of APIs to run time-based goals for players, and reward them without needing to update the game," says Google in its statement. "To do this, you can send game activity data to the Quests service whenever a player successfully wins a level, kills an alien, or saves a rare black sheep, for example. This tells Quests what's going on in the game, and you can use that game activity to create new Quests."
Google has also added a new feature to its Wallet service that allows users to upload information from compatible loyalty cards and coupons to the cloud. Stores can also use geo-fencing to remind a user to scan the loyalty card when in the store, or notify users of available offers.
Google Play Services 5.0 is now available on Android devices worldwide. The accompanying software development kit is also available, through the Android SDK manager.