Google Mobile Services (GMS) is the backbone of modern Android and powers everything from push notifications to malware protection.
What are Google mobile services (GMS)?
The Android operating system that many of us use on a daily basis is known as open source software, which means that its code is publicly available and can be changed endlessly by anyone. In fact, it runs pure and open source Android. You can thank Google Mobile Services (GMS) for this.
Simply put, the open source component of Android is the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). GMS, on the other hand, lives on AOSP and offers a lot of cool features that you would expect from a modern Android.
The main difference between the two, however, is that GMS is not open source. Instead, Google is granting selective licenses to device makers or OEMs for free.
The vast majority of commercial Android devices sold today contain GMS in one form or another. There are of course a few exceptions, but most of the time these are outliers. So what are Google mobile services and why do they have so many Android devices in them?
What are Google or GMS mobile services?
GMS, which stands for Google Mobile Services, is essentially a suite of applications and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that are installed at the system level, which essentially means that they are deeply integrated into the operating system. Think of APIs as shortcuts for application developers to access device-level features, such as streaming video to your TV over Wi-Fi or communicating with high-precision location services from Google.
The Android operating system alone already contains a lot of APIs. Applications only need to call these APIs to, for example, turn on the flashlight, access the device’s cameras, or interact with the file system.
Google Mobile Services extends this core functionality with deep system integration for things like motion detection through built-in sensors, access to payment services like Google Pay, and cloud storage through Play Games, among others. . The
GMS is also considered essential for another reason – it provides access to many applications that you probably use on a daily basis. These include the Play Store, Google Search (and Google Assistant), Google Maps, Gmail, Chrome, and YouTube.
Even if you don’t use any of these apps, there are a number of ways you can still benefit from GMS. When you first turned on your Android smartphone, you were probably signed in to your Google Account. This process is fully dependent on GMS and enables automatic synchronization of your contacts, calendar and settings, including WiFi passwords saved from previous devices.
What are the benefits of GMS for Android users?
Besides the benefits already mentioned, such as access to Google apps and services, GMS is also useful as it helps users get minor software updates and security fixes. In addition, GMS contains niche features that are not visible to end users but are useful to application developers.
Take ML Kit, for example, which is one of Google’s mobile services. It offers a variety of machine learning APIs on the device, ranging from barcode scanning to smart response suggestions that developers can leverage. An application can simply use the templates provided by Google to reduce both development time and complexity.
A more useful feature is Fast Pair, which allows your phone to automatically detect nearby Bluetooth devices. Features such as Find my device, Smart Lock and Digital Wellbeing are also dependent on the availability of Google mobile services.
Some apps also depend on GMS to provide push notification functionality. The Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) service simplifies the development of small applications and eliminates the need for individual applications for notification delivery.
GMS also helps Google transfer software updates to your device quickly, regardless of the manufacturer. Previously, you had to wait for a full software update to get new features or security fixes. It wouldn’t be a problem. Besides the fact that most devices only receive updates in the first few years after launch.
As of 2019, Project Mainline has modularized the operating system and now allows Google to deliver security and feature updates through the Play Store.