Google says that today it completed the rollout of Google Play services 7.8, adding that in the latest release, two new APIs were added. The first is Nearby Messages, a cross-platform API that uses a combination of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and an ultrasound audio modem to connect nearby mobile devices and beacons. The Nearby Messages API works on both Android and iOS.
The second new API is Mobile Vision. This one is made up of two components: the Face API and Barcode API. The Face API lets developers find human faces in images and video in any orientation. It can identify eyes, noses, and mouths, and it can also find faces that are smiling or have their eyes open. Google says that the Face API is faster, more accurate, and provides more info than the Android FaceDetector.Face API.
Meanwhile, the Barcode API portion of Mobile Vision is pretty much what you’d think. The API lets apps recognize barcodes in real-time, on device, regardless of the orientation of the barcode. It supports several different barcodes and can detect multiple barcodes at once.
Also included in Google Play services 7.8 is stuff for Google Cloud Messaging. The goodies include expanded notification to support localization for Android. Google’s also added high and normal priority to GCM messaging — part of the prep for Android M — which is a part of giving developers more control over message delivery. For example, you can set a high priority for important messages like an incoming voice call alert, or a normal priority that’ll handle the messages in a more battery-efficient way.
Google says that these new features are now available in the Google Play services SDK, which can be grabbed from the Android SDK Manager. So if you’re a developer, download the new SDK and you can start adding these new APIs into your apps.