Google developer tool releases include new Maps, Games, Google+ APIs

Developers can also look forward to Android Studio, which immediately garnered more applause from some of the 6,000 attendees present in the keynote hall at Moscone West.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO -- While bigger announcements are on the way, the Google Play services team revealed a number of new tools coming out for developers.

See also: Google I/O by the numbers: 900 million Android activations

Along with the release of Google Maps Android API version two, the Internet giant is introducing launching the following three new Location APIS as part of Google Services.

  • Fused Location Provider: locations are faster to acquire, more accurate, and include new low-power mode than uses less than one percent battery fuel per hour.
  • Geofencing: Defines virtual fences around geographic areas, triggered when entering and exiting defined zones.
  • Activity Recognition: Uses data and classifiers to figure out when the user is walking, cycling or driving -- without using the GPS.

Following up Google+ Sign-In, Google is extending that capability with cross-platform single sign-off.

Last year, Google introduced Google Cloud Messaging, and 60 percent of apps in Google Play are said to be now using the service at a rate of 17 billion messages sent per day. The average latency rate is now 60 milliseconds.

GCM is being folded into Google Play services with three new features as part of a major upgrade:

  • Persistent connection: Can send messages to a large number of devices quickly.
  • Upstream messaging: Send data in the reverse direction between servers and mobile devices
  • GCM API: Syncs notifications (and hides them) across mobile devices

The final focus was on gaming with a new family of APIs built specifically for game developers:

  • Cloud Save: Saves user data across devices, including game play state
  • Achievements: Virtual trophy walls for improved engagement
  • Leaderboards: Uses Google +Circles to encourage "friendly competition"

These updates are scheduled to be rolled out for Android devices running Froyo and higher starting today.

Developers can also look forward to Android Studio, which immediately garnered more applause from some of the 6,000 attendees present in the keynote hall at Moscone West.

Touted to simplify speed up and simplify building mobile apps, the platform organizes and displays code for multiple Android devices running a variety of versions of Android (even in multiple languages) for visualization on one dashboard.

Following up the announcement that there have been 48 million application installs on Google Play, Ellie Powers, product manager for Google Play, introduced five new features for the digital entertainment store's Developer Console.

  • Optimization Tips:  Offers advice about screenshots for tablets, translating apps into different languages based on user figures
  • App Translation Service: Offers professional translations for XML strings directly in developer console (now in pilot program)
  • Referral Tracking: Determines which mobile ads are most effective based on Google Analytics (rolling out this summer)
  • Revenue Graphs: Advertised as "simple tools" that display global revenue varying over time and by country
  • Beta Testing & Staged Rollouts: Consists of three tabs (Alpha Testing, Beta Testing and Production); Developers can select Google+ Circles and communities for staged roll outs.

More to come...

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