Google Play updates platform by adding Maps, Photo Sphere APIs

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is updating its Play services platform, giving developer partners the tools to integrate new mapping and photo features into their Android applications.

Google first rolled out the Play services platform in September. Delivered as an APK via the Google Play storefront, the platform is designed to guarantee that Android software updates are not dependent on carrier or OEM system image upgrades. Google Play services v2.0 brings a Google Maps API including support for 2D and 3D views, enabling users to tilt and rotate the map image. In addition to layers like satellite, hybrid, terrain and traffic, the Maps API also includes indoor mapping features for many major airports and shopping centers.

"Creating markers and info windows is easy," Google staffers Reto Meier, Evan Rapoport and Andrew Foster write on the Android Developers Blog. "Polylines, Polygons, Ground Overlays and Tile Overlays can all now be added to the map with just a few lines of code."

Google Play services v2.0 also adds API support for Photo Sphere camera mode, introduced in the new Android 4.2 to enable users to capture 360-degree panoramic images they can share via the Google+ social platform or upload to Google Maps. "We've made Photo Sphere an open format so anyone can create and view them on the Web or on mobile devices," Meier, Rapoport and Foster note. "We've added the ability for Android app developers to check to see if an image is a Photo Sphere and then open it up in the Photo Sphere viewer."

Devices running versions prior to Android 2.2 or lacking the store app are not supported. To download the Google Play services SDK, click here.

Google Play (formerly Android Market) launched in October 2008 and now boasts more than 700,000 Android apps in all. Google recently said there are more than 500 million Android devices in use worldwide, with an average of 1.3 million additional activations each day.

For more:
- read this Android Developers Blog entry

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