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Google shows new tools, APIs, gaming framework to Android developers

updated 12:51 pm EDT, Wed May 15, 2013

Google Maps API, multiplayer tools, Google+ sign-on added to Android

Google has revealed some of the new tools available to developers on Android at its Google I/O event. A number of new APIs have been introduced, along with the rumored APIs for multiplayer gaming, and new tools for developers to create the apps themselves, including a new Android Studio tool, and help in the creation of international versions of apps.

Google Play Services, a layer that provides a lot of the tools that Google's own apps need to function, will be opened up to other developers to use. Developers will be able to use the Google Maps API to use it within their own apps, as well as three new location APIs. The Fused Location Layer will offer faster location data, offering a low-power mode that uses less than one percent of battery usage, Geofencing allows developers to define areas to trigger events based on location, and Activity Recognition uses accelerometer data to work out what method of transport a person is using.

Cross-platform single sign-on through Google+ is also included in the update, with users of tablets and smartphones automatically logging into accounts without needing to open a separate app page.

Google Cloud Messaging is also part of Google Play Services, allowing apps to communicate between a server and the user devices. GCM now has persistent connections and upstream messaging, allowing GCM to send data from the app on the device to the developer's servers. Notifications are also synchronized across devices, allowing a notification to be dismissed on all devices by being dismissed on only one device.

Google Play Game Services provides a framework for games on Android. Cloud saves, leaderboards, and achievements are included, which will work across multiple platforms, including iOS. Multiplayer games are also added, with inviting friends in Google+ circles directly into the game, which will make multiplayer gaming a relatively simplified process for players.

Android Studio, a new development tool based on IntelliJ, will help developers by showing live rendering of an app on-screen, while it is being edited. Multiple device layouts and options to view international versions of the app are also available, for simpler development in multiple languages. Other services will be integrated into Android Studio in the future.

Google also plans to help with optimizing apps and monetization through the Google Play Developer Console. Suggestions can be read in the console, along with being able to request for apps to be translated into other languages, Google Analytics, beta testing and staged rollouts.

by MacNN Staff





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