It started launching this morning, to every compatible Android device in the world running Froyo or higher. That’s a lot of devices, and even at Google scale it’ll take some time to roll out. This is a subtle but significant change in the ecosystem.
Google Play services let the Android team release significant new APIs and capabilities to compatible devices without having to upgrade the whole platform. One of the first examples is the new Identity tools.
OAuth 2.0 on Android · I’ve been working on this since early spring, and there’s a post on the Android Developers blog with details, sample code, and so on.
It’s been challenging and fun. Challenging, because it needed a bunch of different groups here at the Googleplex to work together; more than we’re used to, as an end-user-product-focused company.
And fun because OAuth really does seem to combine Pretty Good Security with Pretty Good User Experience. And, especially, because typing your password into a mobile device sucks.
The OAuth developer-experience story has generally not been that great, particularly if you want to operate at the REST level and thus necessarily have to deal with the gritty realities of bearer tokens. But I think the new GoogleAuthUtil class in Google Play services makes it reasonably tractable, and my own AuthorizedActivity class tries to simplify further; it’s there for re-use or (more likely) cut-n-paste.
Futures · There are some other nifty new OAuth-related goodies we’re going to be able to roll out to Android developers; stay tuned.
But OAuth is just an example; the big deal is that the Android platform and ecosystem just got noticeably more agile.