The 3-hours plus I/O keynote from Google just ended, and it has been nothing short of exhilarating. Google made tons of new announcements, including Google Play Services, an AOSP running Galaxy S4, Android Studio, new Google Maps, Hangouts, VP9 and Google Play Music All Access. Google Play Services was introduced by the company a couple of months ago to make the life of developers easier. Today, the company announced a major update to Play Services introducing new location APIs, new features for Google Cloud Messaging, cross platform Google+ sign-in and Google Play game services.

While Play Services is mainly aimed at developers, here is how the new features introduced in Google Play services are going to affect the end user. New Locations APIs Play Services now include three new Location based APIs. The first one, Fused location provider, is an all new location based API that uses the various sensors on your Android device to find your location. It is much more accurate and battery friendly as well, using less than 1% battery per hour. For the end user, this simply means no need to disable Google Now or Location Services to preserve your battery. The second new Location API is Geofencing that allows you to setup virtual boundaries on a map. Basically, with third party apps, you can automatically trigger certain actions on your Android device when you enter a virtual boundary made by you. Lastly, the Activity recognition location API will allow your Android device to track your activities – driving, walking or cycling – automatically using the accelerometer and other sensors. Google+ Sign-In Google+ sign-in was also introduced by Google a few months ago, to allow users to automatically sign-in across multiple websites and apps with their Google Plus account, without the hassle of signing-up again. With today’s update, Google sign-in goes cross platform. For the end user, this means that when you sign-in to a new service or app on your desktop, you will be automatically signed-in to the app when you open the app on your Android device. The user will also be prompted to install the app on his Android device, when he logs into the service for the first time. Google Cloud Messaging

Most Android users would have never heard about Google Cloud Messaging, but the service is insanely popular among all third party app developers. About 60% of the top 100 app developers using Google Cloud messaging, and on any given day, the service processes 17 billion messages a day. For the end user though, the new features introduced today in Google Cloud Messaging bring synchronized notifications across devices. This means that once you dismiss a notification on your Android handset, it will be automatically dismissed on your Android tablet as well. Google Play game services

This is the biggie! Google Play game services brings a lot of new features that are going to affect the end user in a big way. Firstly, Google Play game services introduces the ability to save your game progress directly on the cloud. This means that you can play a particular game up to level 10 on your Android handset, and later on, continue playing it on your Android tablet from level 11. All this is automatically done in the background, with almost no user intervention. Secondly, Play Game services bring leader boards and achievements, similar to Game Center. Time to improve your scores and start comparing it with your friends! Lastly, and most importantly, Play game services bring true cross-platform multiplayer gaming service. Unlike Game Center that is only limited to iOS devices, Play game services will allow you to play multiplayer games with your friends using an iOS device as well. The best part about Play game services is that all of this is automatically done in the background, and the developer don’t have to take any additional steps. Developers will need to update their games to take advantage of Play game services though. Google Play game services, and in fact, all the new features announced above are tightly integrated with Google+. So, if you still don’t have a Google+ profile, its high time you make one. The update to Google Play services will start rolling out from today, and will be available to all Android devices running Android 2.2 and above. An updated version of the SDK will also be available for download later today. Image Credits – The Verge