With all the stuff going on at Google I/O (Google’s equivalent to Apple WWDC) it’s difficult to see the trees in the forest. Therefore we’ve made an attempt to digest the mobile related announcements from Google from last week:
Activations and apps
Google announced that more than 48 billion apps have been installed from the Google Play store, thanks to 900 million activations of Android devices.
Google Announces Three New Geo APIs for Android: Fuse Location Provider, Geofencing, Active Recognition:
- Fused location provider utilizes all of the communication sensors in the phone (wifi, gps, and cell), while using 1% of the battery that previous APIs used. It speeds up the process and makes the location accuracy higher.
- Geofences, pre-drawn boundaries, that when crossed by the app user, trigger events on the device. Developers can have up to 100 geofences active at a time.
- Active recognition refers to a device’s ability to determine how one is moving: walking, riding, driving, etc. The API uses the accelerator combined with artificial intelligence.
Read more here
Beta testing & staged rollouts of apps
The new console in Google Play now lets developers manage both beta users and a staged rollout process. This is great news as it makes it easier to do pilots with a selected group of people with Android apps.
Android Studio: A new IDE for Android development
Android Studio is a new Integrated Development Environment (IDE) built just for Android. Key features include preview of layouts, show previews with different languages and more. Read more here.
Google Cloud Messaging
Fairly minor announcement but Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) will now work for users signed in across multiple devices (e.g. tablet and smartphone). Read more here.
Google actually announced this in February this year so maybe more of a reminder than an announcement. Google+ Sign-In lets third-party developers build Google+ authentication, sharing and interaction into their services. This is similar to Facebook Sign-in which is already used by thousands of apps and developers.
Google VP9 video codec
This was more of a promotion than an announcement. Google talked up VP9 is royalty-free, open-source technology, higher-quality alternative to today’s dominant video codec H264. According to Google videos are 63% smaller size with comparable quality. VP9 is available now for testing through Chrome and Youtube and will be available on mobile devices later this year. Read more here.
Chrome mobile and desktop enhancements
Google announced some Java script speed improvements on mobile based on V8 engine in Chrome improving performance by over 50% compared to last year.