Google has one final gift to Android developers before the end of the year: Google Play Services 8.4, which has several new tricks that might make you hang around and keep playing that game you’ve been grinding away on a little bit longer. As always, you can get the rundown in another wacky video from Google Developer Advocate Magnus Hyttsten.
The impact on you: Many of the newest features for Android come not through Android updates, but Google Play Services. This bypasses Android’s fragmentation, which prohibits most users from getting the latest version of the operating system. Marshmallow, for example, stands at just 0.5 percent, according to the latest Android distribution numbers.
With this new update, developers can now specify more content to be shared from their app. As an example, if a developer has a cooking app, they can customize the sharing feature so you can include the entire contents of a recipe through an email. Such information then might lead the recipient to install the app for themselves.
Another set of APIs may entice you to keep playing that latest game a little longer. Developers now get a churn prediction tool to try and pin down when you’re likely to leave, based on a large collection of player statistics. They can then build in more experiences at the likely churn points to get more players to hang around a while longer.
Additionally, the Google Maps API now lets you tap and zoom into an area that’s specifically defined by the developer. As an example, this could help you focus in on a particular neighborhood and ignore any extraneous details on the map. Additionally, a Fused Location Provider now talks to more cell towers and has smarter Wi-Fi detection, which should better pin down your location.