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Google Play Services Update: Battery, Photo Sphere & more

Loie Favre

Google Play Services has just received an update bump which promises to ensure better battery durability as well as supply some needed improvements to location based services amongst a few other nice perks.

google play services
© Google

Google Play Services has integrated a few new options which expand the functionality of the Android System independently of the particular Android version. Smartphone and tablet owners will no longer be connected to the Android version placed on their device by the manufacturer: Google will now update the Play Services automatically. The update will be available for all Android devices running on Android 2.2 Froyo or later and offers the following changes:

Maps and Location Based Services

The new version of Google Play Services also supports hardware-based GPS geofencing on compatible devices like the Nexus 4. According to Google, geofencing in hardware mode should not drain batteries as much as the version in software mode. Developers who have built these functions into their apps won't need to worry about making any changes since compatible devices will automatically switch to hardware mode. There's also the energy-efficient Fused Location Provider which supports a low-power mode for user location updates and the option to create mock locations for more efficient simulation tests. A few more goodies this update brought for developers are the new Google+ sign-in options, analytics as well as a cleaned-up InstantBuy with holo theme.

nexus 4 photo sphere
The Photo Sphere viewer is interactive, letting you discover what's in it by physically moving around your Android device. / © Google

Photo Sphere and Google+

Google's Photo Sphere viewer is available as of right now when using compass mode. You can explore the 360 degree shot by simply physically moving your smartphone in different directions. There are also new tools available for developers for simpler content sharing directly to Google+.

In the meantime the update should have already arrived to all Android devices on Android 2.2 Froyo and later. In order to check which version you currently have, simply open the Android settings and go under ''App'' or ''Application Manager'', depending on your device. The most recent version is called 3.2.25. If the update hasn't come your way yet, it should install automatically within the next hours or days onto your device.