We all know that Android is the underlying operating system that drives the important hardware stuff that makes up smartphones and tablets, but on top of this software there sits another layer of software that helps make a significant portion of the apps and features you use every day function correctly. This software layer weaves its way into nearly every category in your Settings menu, from wireless and location systems to security protocols that unlock your phone, all while adding social functionality to your apps and games. For those of us who get our apps from the Google Play Store, it's the lifeblood of the platform running your smartphone and tablet. We're talking about Google Play Services, and how this constantly growing series of tools for users and developers keeps your device safe and up to date.

Right here is where we're going to talk about all things Play Services. New updates to the platform, and what they mean to you. The way Play Services integrates with your phone, offering new Smart Lock methods, enabling support for Chromecast, Android Wear, Android Auto, and whatever else comes along. How, as a developer, to use Play Services to offer more features to your users. It's all connected, and it's a huge part of why most Android devices function the way they do.