Firebase, the mobile app development platform Google acquired back in 2014, got a major update at the Google Cloud Next conference in San Francisco today. The general theme here is that Firebase is moving closer to the Google Cloud platform. It’s adding support for Google Cloud Functions (which is now officially in beta), for example, the company’s counterpart to the AWS Lambda “serverless” compute platform. Firebase is also getting support for all of the storage options the Google Cloud Platform now offers.
As Firebase co-founder James Tamplin told me, Firebase always made for an easy entry into Google’s cloud ecosystem. The idea behind the service, after all, is to give developers a simple backend-as-a-service platform that frees them from having to build their own infrastructure and maintain their own servers. But as an app’s user base and feature set grows, developers inevitably have to set up servers to support more advanced use cases.
Google, of course, wants to offer those developers an easy on-road to its Cloud Platform, but Firebase, too, is expanding to support more of these advanced features. Cloud Functions is a natural step here, given that it allows developers to kick off more complex programs without having to maintain servers, too. Indeed, Google says support for Cloud Functions was the No. 1 most requested feature from Firebase developers. The new Cloud Functions for Firebase SDK can listen to events from Firebase Analytics, its real-time database, authentication and storage service and kick off Cloud Functions based on them.
Firebase Storage (which is now called Cloud Storage for Firebase), too, is getting an update and is now aligned with Google’s other cloud storage solutions. That means it now offers support for Nearline and Coldline, for example, Google’s solutions for storing data that isn’t regularly accessed. Developers can also now choose in which region they want to store their data, something that’s especially important for developers who have to worry about data sovereignty issues.
In addition, Google is also now extending the Google Cloud Platform Terms of Service to cover Firebase. As Tamplin noted, that’s something enterprises are especially interested in because it means their lawyers only have to do a single review for both Cloud Platform and Firebase. The Cloud Platform Terms of Service will cover Firebase services like Authentication, Hosting, Storage, Functions and the Firebase Test Lab. The Firebase analytics services will move under the Google Analytics Terms of Service in the near future.