What are Google Play Services and what are they for

Google Play Services is a system application that is preinstalled on all Android mobile phones that use the Google ecosystem. This app is, in fact, a set of libraries created by Google and made available to all developers for them to take advantage of and implement Google services in their apps, which provides many benefits to users. Google Services can be understood as the link between Android, our phone apps, and Google online services.

Google Play Services connects our Android and its apps with Google's online services. It runs hidden in the background, so we never interact with it as such, except when an app requires enabling permissions to access this function. In fact, this app cannot be disabled or deleted without development tools such as the Android SDK or by rooting the phone.

We do not see it, and yet, it is one of the most important apps on our devices since it guarantees that everything works correctly. All Google certified devices include it. Some phones are not equipped with this app by default (certain minor brands or phones with custom ROMs that do not use Google tools, such as Gmail, Google Maps, Google Play Store, etc.), but it is possible to install Google Play Services on them and take advantage of its functions all the same.

For app developers, this is a great advantage, as it does not require reviewing all the app’s code when they introduce changes in the operating system. This saves time and effort and guarantees that the app will continue to be compatible with the phone after the changes made.

They serve many purposes when we use our phones. Which purposes exactly? The following are just some examples:

  • Check and update apps.
  • Send statistics to Google for product improvement.
  • Log on to apps using our Google account.
  • Interact with Google Cast devices.
  • Enable the Google Drive operation.
  • Add functionalities in games, such as achievements.
  • Perform safety checks.
  • Enable Google searches from within apps or other tools such as Maps.
  • Communicate with nearby devices.
  • Provide support for Google paid services.
  • Offer support for Android Wear devices.