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Google Play Services 4.4 Released With Tons of New API Features

Android Figure - Google closeup

Google just released version 4.4 of Google Play Services, adding a ton of updates and new features for third-party developers who use the company’s APIs. The software upgrade is just rolling out to developers now, so it could be a while before you see any changes in your apps.

One of the biggest changes comes from Google’s Location API, which is already tasked with identifying whether your traveling by car, bike or on foot. After today’s update your Android smartphone should be able to tell whether you’re running or walking at any given time as well. “Just imagine combining this capability with features in Maps, Games Services and other parts of Location,” Google teased. Imagine we will – hopefully someone comes up with some awesome location-based games with leaderboards and more.

On the business end of things, Google said that its adding new APIs that will allow developers to create in-application ads that users can interact with directly to make purchases. Developers will also gain more granular control of ad units, so they can target users with more specific advertisements.

Meanwhile, the Google Maps API for Android is getting added support for Street View, including indoor maps, making it easy for developers to embed 360-degree views taken from the service. That means new and existing apps can include live Street View images based on your location. Other additions include small tweaks to Android’s games services, including the ability to request games as a gift, as well an easier way to add a “Buy With Google Wallet” button inside any app.

Google Play Services 4.4 should open the door for some interesting new apps and features coming to third-party apps. It could take a few days for the upgrade to take hold and even longer for developers to take advantage of the new APIs, though Google hints that it has even bigger news to share at its annual I/O developers conference next month.

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...