Google Play services are used to update Google apps and apps from Google Play. Google Play services also enhance your app experience. It speeds up offline searches, provides more immersive maps, and improves gaming experiences.
Some interesting additions to Google Play Services v23.02:
- Artillery alert notifications in Ukraine. In March 2022, Google started sending air raid alert notifications for users with Android phones (+GMS) in areas where the govt. of Ukraine issued an alert. It seems Play Services will soon do the same for artillery alerts.
- Smart Lock potentially rebranding to “Extend Unlock”. The new Watch Unlock feature will let you unlock your phone using your watch if your watch is unlocked, on your wrist, and nearby (~1m, based on Bluetooth RSSI). This is AFTER your face/fingerprint isn’t recognized when unlocking your phone. Comparatively, Smart Lock would keep your phone unlocked so long as it’s connected to your watch via Bluetooth (Trusted Devices). It would not unlock your phone. To avoid confusion, rebranding it to “Extend Unlock” makes sense.
- Low battery alerts for styluses using Fast Pair. When your stylus battery is getting low, you’ll get an alert that the battery is getting low and that you need to charge soon. These alerts will use Fast Pair. Can’t help but think this is for the Pixel Tablet.
- “Tap to ID” Bluetooth trackers (see screenshot). If you spot an unfamiliar Bluetooth tracker, you may be able to tap it to identify it. Not sure exactly how that’d work, but there’s a page that’ll tell you whether the device is trackable and what you should do if it’s unfamiliar to you (ie. remove the battery).
- An interesting observation by @nullby: Google’s building Play Services APKs for Wear OS with a minSDK of 33, ie. Android 13. In case you need more evidence the next major version of Wear OS will be based on Android 13!