Google Play Services

Google has released the 4.4 update for Google Play services, along with a list of new services and APIs. Features have been tweaked and added in the Maps API, new activity recognition features have been added, Games Services have been tweaked to allow multiple game gifts, Wallet fragments now allow an Instant Buy button inside an app, and a new way of displaying mobile ads will allow more targeted ads and direct purchase.

Some major notes:

The Google Maps API now allows embeded Street View into an activity, with methods to programmatically control zoom and orientation of the Street View camera. In addition, developers can now animate camera movement over duration. In addition, more features have been bundled into the Indoor Maps feature.

Activity recognition in the location API has been updated to add two new activity detectors — running and walking. These will expand on the previous "on foot" activity, and open up ways for developers to interact with users in even better ways.

Google I/O is coming up shortly, and we expect to see even more of this sort of great news for developers.

You'll silently update Google Play services in the background on your Android device(s) when the gradual rollout decides it is your turn to play.

Source: Google


Reader comments

Google Play Services 4.4 can tell when you're walking or running


Now this is really creepy.

But wait. They've already been doing this during Location Services.

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Does this mean google play services will drain our batteries even faster than it already does?

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Not at all. In fact their update last year dramatically REDUCED its battery drain by improving location services to be able to pick up this kind of information with minimal usage. This will simply expand on its knowledge while using the same functions.

Technically, it may have gotten better like TurboFool says but once the update kicks in and is used, it should use more battery than the last.

I can frustratingly confirm that it absolutely kills the battery, from personal experience last night when my remaining juice went from 85% to 6% in about 6 hours of almost no usage whatsoever. Am currently searching for ways to stop it, and turning off Location History etc, which used to work, no longer does.

But can it tell the difference between bicycling and tractoring? That's what I want to know.

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The real question is when it will be able to track how many time and for how long we go for the upper decker.

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When I did my due diligence in swapping from an iPhone to android less than a year ago I didn't really take the whole "fragmentation" seriously. Now that I start seeing cool features on 4.4 I actually understand the complaints as a Verizon customer. How annoying...

@mwatson2, considering how few Apple devices there are out there, there's plenty of "fragmentation" too. If you still had an iphone 1 or 2, how many of the cool things in iphone 5 could you take advantage of? For that matter, recall how Verizon users didn't even have the option to buy an iphone for years.

I didn't mean to sound like I was bashing one product over the other, I love my Note 3, and maybe fragmentation wasn't the right word. The fact I have the exact same phone as others, but can't get a content update due to my carrier is what I'm referring to. It feels like owning an Xbox that won't play a game because I'm on Comcast instead of Time Warner. Something new to experience I guess ;)

Actually you can't get content because of Samsung, not Verizon. All of the blind hate goes towards Verizon, but anyone who actually pays attention can see that its Samsung's fault that the phone hasn't been updated.

Then you are not paying attention. All the other Note 3s have Kit Kat. Verizon is holding it up...

Verizon gave out their guidelines for how to do updates and every OEM except Samsung has managed to get their flagships updated. how is it Verizon's fault? How do you explain Verizon's Moto devices getting Kit Kat before some Nexus devices did if Verizon is the hold up. Samsung is either unwilling or unable to follow the guidelines that every other competent OEM can follow, Hell, even the Droid Razr is gonna beat the Note to getting Kit Kat. Every company has proven that updating on Verizon can be done in a timely manner...except Samsung. But there is still the ignorant, baseless Verizon bashing.

Listen, troll, nobody likes Verizon. We use them because they have the best coverage where we are. In some cases we have no choice because the other carriers are not reliable where we live. And Verizon knows this and takes advantage of it. They charge the highest fees, they're the last ones to remove restrictions, and the slowest to allow OS updates. When I had a Palm, the Verizons got updated last. Maybe Samsung is the slowest of the OEMs to get their OS updated on Verizon, but every phone from every manufacturer gets an update on other carriers before Verizon.
Whatever - it is what it is. I'm grandfathered into unlimited data on Verizon so I'll put up with their abuse. Once it's not working for me I'll switch and good riddance.

Yeah, like when that one carrier got their Moto X updated before Verizon. Which carrier was that again? i'll wait for your answer.
And its true, nobody likes Verizon, which is why they're the smallest carrier in the country...oh, wait...It's the coverage. Verizon has millions and millions more customers because the other carriers simply ignore a vast majority of the country, thus giving them no choice other than Verizon.
And they are too expensive. i mean I'm on Verizon and I don't know anybody who pays less for their plan than I do. Wait a minute, if everybody I know pays more, how can Verizon have the highest fees?
So basically everything you said is foolish, ignorant garbage. I'm confused, who's the troll here?

wrong, wrong and wrong.
I'd say nice try, but that would be wrong too.
But at least you back up your argument with no facts whatsoever, that's pretty typical of the blind Verizon hate.

Tmobile is $70 for 100% unlimited. You can't even compare with verizon because even if you pay the same, verizon doesn't have unlimited you're dumb.

Also' I just looked...verizon's closest price is $80 and included unlimited voice & text with 1gb of data.... so not only are you dumb, you're either a bald-faced liar or a troll who banked on the fact that no one would spend 10 seconds to fact-check your bullshit.

Also, just in case you try accusing me of being throttled, here's that proof too. You can see in the screenshot attached to my above post I've used over 33GB this month and I'm only halfway through my month....well here's my speed test. I've never seen 2G go this fast, have you?? (yeah, I LTE speed sucks here, but that's not the topic at hand)

Grandfathered in, until you upgrade. I'm also on unlimited data, but I but my phone outright.

"How'd you get the beans above the frank?"

It is based in reality. Google gives it to the OEM (they add stuff) they then release it to the carriers (for more stuff).

It is not a customized verizon version that samsung puts out, it is one version to all.

Lets connect the dots, if everyone in the world has the update but one carrier, whos fault is it?

Moto is not part of the conversation.

You're on a streak of wrongness my friend.
Google gives it to the OEM(they add stuff(stuff that they know Verizon will test and have been given the parameters of those tests)) A competent OEM adds it in a timely manner within the guidelines they were provided and if they don't/can't then it gets delayed. Samsungs updates get delayed because they're either incompetent or just don't care about their customers on Verizon.
And it absolutely is customized for each carrier because each carrier uses different hardware.
Lets connect the dots, if every OEM on a network can get their flagships updated but one, who's fault is it?
And why is Moto not part of the equation? Oh, that's right, because they prove that you are dead wrong so they need to be ignored.

no, Samsung is not going to do the work for Verizon, and they certainly are not going to bow to them either. Do you not remember the flowchart that HTC put out awhile ago?

I am amazed at how obstinate your being about this. Using your thing, if every oem can get it done except one, is it not reasonable that the "one" is holding up the works for some reason?

No moto doesnt come into the equation because it is not the subject. We are discussing Samsung and Verizon.

Verizon is a CDMA network, and therefore uses no sim card for anything connected to their voice or non-LTE data network. This means in order to connect to the network you have to install certain proprietary bits that are included with the firmware. So yes, Google passes the firmware to samsung, who passes it to verizon, who then distributes it to their subscribers. This is how all CDMA works,m and is a MAJOR contributing factor on delayed updates, since there are so many sprint and verizon subscribers out there....not to mention all the MVNOs piggybacking on sprint and verizon's network.

To be fair, each iPhone has about 4 years worth of support and OS upgrades. This can't be said for almost (if not all) every Android device. From what I recall, the two year old Galaxy Nexus didn't get an official upgrade to Kitkat.

You misunderstand what this is. It's not connected in any way to KitKat - Android 4.4. This is Google Play Services 4.4, which rolls out to ALL Android devices, pretty much regardless of version since I think 1.8 or something silly like that.

This is how Google is fighting and winning fragmentation.

You are not alone. The Big Evil Red is like a splinter in my foot. I've been waiting for T-Mobile to improve in my area, then it's sayonara.

"How'd you get the beans above the frank?"

If you're saying that my hope of T-Mobile improving enough to convince me to leave Verizon is unlikely, then yes. AT&T is horrible and so is Sprint, at least in my area.

"How'd you get the beans above the frank?"

Thats what I was saying. I had the same issue but then Sprint got on the stick and put in some great LTE here. I was not going to ATT because it really was just more of the same

I understand. Verizon's coverage is excellent in Philadelphia, I was once with both companies, AT&T and Nextel/Sprint, both were terrible. Sprint specifically, the customer service was horrendous. AT&T, coverage was horrible. Gilligan probably has better cell reception on his island.

"How'd you get the beans above the frank?"

Well Sprint CS has not gotten a ton better I can imagine. That is another thing that Verizon does excel in.

You're in Philly and waiting for T-mobile to get better? Just make the jump. I had a very old grandfathered unlimited plan w/ a 22% corporate discount and I've stilll been saving a bunch of money with Tmobile each month while enjoying just as good of coverage and MUCH faster speeds. Of course there's some caveats, some spots between Hburg and Pburg and for whatever reason Cape May, but all in all it's great and I travel pretty often for business.

That's my only issue with T-Mobile is their service outside of the city. I work and live in the city, but I spend most of my time outside. I'm going to wait and see if they improve.

"How'd you get the beans above the frank?"

If you were responding to me, I am in Harrisburg and because of my work I get a lot of phones that are on Tmo (prepaid cheap) and unless you are in the city, it is utter crap from there, to king of prussia and most of the way to Baltimore and back.

Sprint is great in that triangle because they actually did not do the upgrades themselves, they have a company they bought (wholly owned subsidiary) that does it for them.

Tmo prices, better coverage. Now getting in philly tmo is decent compared to sprint.

I wasn't, but it's good to know. Thanks. I'm intrigued by the progress that T-Mobile has made. I know that T-Mobile is good within most cities, it's outside that I'm concerned with.
"How'd you get the beans above the frank?"

Another user already clarified the version thing, so I thought I'd mention something else: One thing that's great about Android is that things like Google Play Services, and basically ALL of Google's core apps, can update independent of the OS. So Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Camera, launcher, search, etc., etc. can be updated without needing to wait for a full OS overhaul, and can apply to multiple versions of Android. It makes the fragmentation issues, as long as you're at least within the last few releases of Android, far less meaningful than they might be on something like iOS.

This is updated independently in the Play I actually think it reduces fragmentation.... But I could be wrong

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Don't blame Verizon, blame Samsung. Moto had their 4.4 update pretty much right away. Samsung has way more money + market. It should have been out already.

wrong, the Note 3 has had it one every other carrier for quite a bit of time. Verizon is holding it up on there end.

The only thing I have a complaint is prices and how they treat other devices. My Moto X got the 4.4 update first though, so <3

This isn't fragmentation... Every Android phone above 4 probably gets this fyi

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Does this tie into the card that showed up in Google Now today that showed where I parked at work or a different API?

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I walk incredibly fast but run incredibly slow. I'm wondering how accurate it will really be for me.

Google took the lead in the development of the Android mobile operating system, one of the only smartphones that competes with Apple's constantly upgrading iPhone.

Can it tell when you ride a bicycle? I haven't ridden a bicycle in over ten years and my monthly activity report always lists me at 5 - 10 miles on a bike.

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I have the same issue and I've concluded for me that the number of miles I've "ridden" a bicycle are identical to the number of miles I've ridden the municipal train in SF.

Go to if you don't see the Google updates yet in Google Play.

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