What is Google Play Services? Why Is it Important?

If you own an Android device then you must have encountered with an app called Google Play Services. However, no one really knows the exact purpose of it and some even don’t know its existence until something goes wrong. But these services serve a great purpose on your Android device which supports a large functionality of your phone.

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What is Google Play Services?

Google Play services is a background service for Android devices that is used to update Google apps and other apps from Google Play such as Maps, Google+ and more. These updates are automatic platform updates distributed as an APK through the Google Play store to make receiving and integrating updates faster and easier.

What does it do?

It also provides core functionality like authentication to your Google services, access to all the latest user privacy settings, synchronized contacts, and higher quality, lower-powered location-based services. It also speeds up the offline searches, improves gaming experiences, and provides more immersive maps.

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Google Play Services can also deal with the Google’s fragmentation issue. It gives you the freedom to use latest API’s provided by Google without worrying about the device support( from Android 2.2 up).

Components of Google Services:

  • Google Play Game Services: This service helps you make your games more social, with achievements, leaderboards, and multiplayer. It even allows you to save and store games in the cloud.
  • Google Maps API: This API allows you to access Google Maps in other apps without actually leaving that particular application. For example, booking a cab and using maps in that app.
  • Location APIs: The location APIs facilitate adding location awareness to your app with automated location tracking, geofencing, and activity recognition i.e, the direction and method of movement, and whether the device has moved across a predefined geographical boundary, or geofence.
  • Google Drive API: This API helps you to interact, share and store files from other apps in Google Drive.
  • Google+: This service allows you to use Google+ login credentials to access various accounts on multiple apps without the need to create an account for that particular app. This is nothing but the Sign in with Google+ feature you see whenever you install a new application.
  • Google Mobile Ads: This API is responsible for displaying ads in the apps based on your location and browsing history. This is a key API for app developers to make money.

Other components that constitute Google Play Services include Google Wallet, Google Fit API, Google Play Protect, Google Cast Android API, Google account authentication methods.

Do I need Google Play Services?

Many applications on your Android device are dependant on Google Play Services to access the Google APIs which adds functionalities as mentioned above. The apps may not work if you try to uninstall Google Play services.

How Can I disable it?

Google Play Services is an inbuilt app and you can not uninstall it. However, you can disable it by going to Settings > Applications > All > Google Play Services > Disable.

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If you have any other queries related to Google Play Sevices, drop them in the comments below!

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