With the rollout of Google Play Services 8.1 complete, Google has outlined the changes for developers to help them get their apps ready to make full use of it. Included in Play Services 8.1 is a number of new features and functionality, some of which you may visually see integrated into your favorite apps, and others come as behind the scenes changes.

It is important to note that these changes aren't available immediately for end users — but once developers integrate the new tools into their apps, and you're running the latest Play Services, you'll see the benefits. Some of the changes include:

  • Marshmallow Permissions: This will enable you to manage the permission flows appropriately for your app and avoid any potential connection issues.
  • App Invites: allows you to grow your apps audience by letting existing Android and iOS users invite their Google contacts via email or SMS to try your app out.
  • Ambient Mode Maps: In this mode, a simplified low-color rendering of the map will be seen. This reduces power consumption by lighting fewer pixels, but the camera and zoom level are retained, so user context will be kept.
  • Nearby Status Listener: A new addition in Google Play services allows your app to receive callbacks when an active Nearby publish or subscribe expires. This frees you from tracking the TTL and allows your app's UI to accurately reflect whether Nearby is active or not.
  • Play Games Player Stats API: It will let you tailor user experiences to specific segments of players and different stages of the player lifecycle. For example, you can give your most valuable players that are returning from a break in play a special welcome back message and reward.
  • Breaking Changes: In this release, there are some changes to GoogleApiClient and PendingResult, making them abstract classes, which may lead to breaking changes in your code.

The SDK is now available for developers to download. You can learn more about Google Play services and the new APIs available through the documentation from the Google Developers site.

Source: Google Developers