Google rolls out Firebase product updates geared towards enterprises

The latest updates are designed to help developers use Firebase with their existing infrastructure and processes.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

After building up momentum on Firebase over the past year, Google this week is announcing a series of updates to the mobile app development platform to make it more enterprise-friendly. Google acquired Firebase in 2014 and revamped in 2016. There are now more than 1.5 million active applications using Firebase each month.

Up to this point, Firebase has largely catered to smaller, nimbler companies, according to Francis Ma, Lead Product Manager of Firebase.

"What they found attractive is our focus on making things really easy to use," he explained to ZDNet. "Our thesis has been how do we help developers... accelerate app development by making things easy to use, so they don't have to think about configuration and so forth."

However, what appealed to smaller companies about Firebase has made it more difficult for larger teams to use. So Google is advancing the platform with features like API access and data exports, "so they can adapt that to their existing infrastructure and processes and use this in a more flexible way," Ma explained.

One such updates is the release of the Firebase Management API, a REST API that allows developers to create and manage projects and apps programmatically. Previously, in order to use Firebase, developers manually provision apps and projects. Now, they can automatically provision projects and then tear them down, which should be particularly useful for CI.

Additionally, Google is announcing that customers can deploy to Firebase Hosting directly from within StackBlitz and Glitch, two web-based IDEs.

Meanwhile, Google is bringing Firebase Predictions into general availability. With this tool, users can apply machine learning to their app analytics data to create user segments based on predicted behavior. In addition to moving it out of beta, Google is updating Firebase with the ability to dive in deeper to see the detailed results of the predictions. There's a new details page that shows what factors the ML model considered, like events, device, user data, etc.

For users that want to join this data back to their own data warehouse, they can now export their complete prediction dataset to BigQuery.

Google is also bringing into general availability the Firebase test lab for iOS, adding support for iOS 12.

Additionally, Google is adding support for Firebase to its Google Cloud Support packages. This will be available in beta by the end of this year.

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