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Google Play services 8.4 is now out enabling you to build better apps with new functionality for: App Invites, Maps, Play Games, Fused Location Provider and more.

Magnus Hyttsten also gets in serious trouble with a wizard.

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Custom Email App Invites

App Invites is a technology that enables your users to share apps with people they know. In Google Play services 8.4 we’ve updated this to make it easier for them to share via email. Before this you could create a custom email that contained user defined text and an image, but now we’re allowing you to add content from the app directly into the message.

It allows you to fully define the email body using HTML, and set the email subject line. So, for example, if you have a favorite cooking app that you want to share with your friends, your invite to use the app can include a favorite recipe from the app.

They get the immediate benefit of being able to access the desired content, giving them a more informed choice about whether or not they decide to install the app to get richer and more content. Check out the App Invites sample on GitHub here.

Predicting User spend and churn in games

The Play Games Analytics developer experience is designed to enable game developers to better understand, manage, game experiences throughout the player lifecycle.

With this in mind, we’ve extended the Player Stats API to help you better understand your players behavior, and based on this, entice them to stay in your game.

The churn prediction method will return data on the probability that the player will churn, i.e., stop playing the game. You can create content in response to this to entice them to stay in your game.

Additionally, the spend prediction method will return the probability that the player will spend something in the game. It’s up to you how to handle this data, but — for example — if there’s a low probability that the player will spend something, you could provide discounted in-app purchases or show ads.

Fused Location Provider Updates

The Fused Location Provider (FLP) in Google Play services provides location to your apps using a number of sensors, including GPS, WiFi and Cell Towers.

In Google Play services 8.4, we have greatly improved how the FLP detects location from cell towers.

Prior to this, we would get the location information relative to only the primary cell tower. Now, the FLP takes the primary tower and other towers nearby to provide a more accurate location. We’ve also improved location detection from WiFi access points, particularly in areas where GPS is not available — such as indoors.