It looks like Google is once again set to rebrand an Android named product or service to something more Google generic. In the latest beta of Google Play Services, version 12.5, references to Android Wear have been changed to Wear OS, complete with a new “W” icon and everything.
The change was first spotted in name only in the version of Play Services that came in the Android P Developer Preview. But a new beta rolled out to those in the beta channel for the app and you get the above changes when using the Nearby feature of Android.
A new beta of Google Play Service is currently available and it is bringing a much desired fix to the “Check for Update” button on Google Pixel devices. The new beta build is version 12.2.09 and multiple sources are reporting that at least on the Pixel 2 lineup, you can actually tap the “Check for Update” option in Settings and it will immediately go download the new February Android Security Update patches.
The Check for Update button has been broken for a while now. A fix was to come with Android Oreo but an update to Google Play Services, the culprit in all of the issues, broke it again late last year. Google then indicated that a fix would be coming in 2018. That fix now appears to be happening.
Last month, Google announced that they were going to be releasing an update to Google Play Services to address a network issues caused by the service. The issue would essentially flood your home network with packets as your phone would continually try to connect to Chromecast devices on it – your Chromecast and Google Home devices specifically.
The update, at the time, rolled out into the beta for Play Services but today is rolling out to everyone. The new build is version 11.9.75 and should be coming to devices over the course of the next few days.
Google is set to roll out an update to Google Play Services tomorrow aimed at addressing the slow WiFi issue that some users of Chromecast and Google Home have experienced. The issue cropped up a couple of weeks ago and at first, was thought to be an issue with the new Google Home Max. It turns out that Google Play Services was the culprit.
For those that haven’t encountered the problem (good!), it comes down to Android devices on your network as well as Chromecast and Home devices. Essentially what was happening is that Android devices on the same network would see the Cast enabled device and flood your network with packets. That would cause slowness or instability. It was effectively an internal DDoS attack.
Google has announced that support for the six year old Google Gingerbread and 5 year old Google Honeycomb builds will be ending early in 2017. The news came via an announcement about Google Play Service on the Android developer blog. In the announcement, Google said that in the next release of Google Play Services, version 10.2.0, the minimum API supported will be API 14 which is Ice Cream Sandwich. Previously API 9 was supported.
The Gingerbread platform is almost six years old. Many Android developers have already discontinued support for Gingerbread in their apps. This helps them build better apps that make use of the newer capabilities of the Android platform. For us, the situation is the same. By making this change, we will be able to provide a more robust collection of tools for Android developers with greater speed.
For end users, what this means is that any device running Gingerbread or Honeycomb will no longer be supported which means that they will likely not have access to the Google Play Store or very limited access.
Google has begun rolling out a significant update to Google Play Services for Android that has a significant number of fixes and improvements for users. The updated build is version 8.7.03 for those keeping score at home and should be hitting your compatible device in the next few days. So what exactly is Google Play Services? Think of it as the glue that binds your phone to Google Play so you can authenticate and update apps and services on your phone. It’s not sexy but it is important and when it doesn’t play nice in the sandbox, it can make things a bit challenging.