Google rolls out Play services platform to Android developers

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is launching its Play services platform, enabling third-party Android developers to integrate other Google products into their applications.

First announced this summer at Google's annual I/O developer conference, Google Play has a services component that runs on the Android device and a thin client library that developers package with their app. The Google Play services component is delivered as an APK via the Google Play storefront, ensuring that updates are not dependent on carrier or OEM system image upgrades. Google notes that newer Android devices will have Google Play services as part of their system image, but updates are still pushed through the Google Play store regardless of the device's vintage.

The first iteration of the Google Play services client library includes Google+ social networking sign-in capabilities and +1 APIs, as well as OAuth 2.0 functionality. "OAuth 2.0 is a good choice for the job, offering the promise of strong security minus passwords," explains Google Developer Advocate Tim Bray. "Typically, when you want your Android app to use a Google account to access something, you have to pick which account on the device to use, then you have to generate an OAuth 2.0 token, then you have to use it in your HTTP-based dialogue with the resource provider. These tasks are largely automated for you if you're using a recent release of the Google APIs Client Library for Java."

Google said the Play services launch should take about a week, adding "Please wait for us to post that the rollout is complete before launching any apps on the store which use Google Play services." 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 675,000 Android apps in all. The storefront sells premium Android apps in 132 international markets and offers free apps in 190 countries. As of this week, consumers have downloaded more than 25 billion Android apps from Google Play.

For more:
- read this Android Developers Blog entry
- read this Google Play services overview

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