Elevate your business information technology and strategy in Transform 2021.
This week during Google I/O 2021, Google’s developer conference, the company announced numerous updates to Firebase, its cellular and web app development stage. Google says that the tools it’s introducing can help programmers enhance app encounters, scale and maintain apps, and include novel functionality to existing programs.
The business value of apps can be enormous. According to some 2019 Google survey, 39% of smartphone users are more inclined to browse a brand’s mobile app because it’s easier or quicker to make a buy. While one report suggests that growth in small business adoption of programs is slowing, Red Hat research discovered that 79percent of U.S.-based respondents’ mobile app strategies have positive returns on investment.
According to Google, Firebase — which is now used by over 3 million apps per month — is gaining a Storage Emulator, which will let developers upload, download, and modify files as they would in production. A module of Emulator Suite, the Firebase service that runs emulated versions of Google’s backend products, Storage Emulator interacts with other emulators to trigger functions and protect access to files.
App check and extensions
Beyond these changes, Firebase App Distribution, a tool that distributes pre-release versions of apps to testers, is incorporating support for Android App Bundles, which enables developers to test the binaries Android users install on their devices. And Google is launching App Check, a new security feature in beta that protects access to services by verifying that incoming traffic is coming from an app and blocking traffic that doesn’t have valid credentials.
App Check is available for Cloud Storage, Realtime Database, and Cloud Functions for Firebase, and it’ll expand to other products soon, Firebase product lead Kristen Richards told VentureBeat in an interview.
Google is also bringing new Firebase Extensions, prepackaged bundles of code that automate common development tasks, to Firebase’s library. The additions include:
- Analyze Toxicity with Perspective API, from Alphabet-backed Jigsaw, which leverages AI to pre-review comments considered”impolite, disrespectful, or foolish in a way that will make people leave a conversation.”
- Search with Algolia, which enables developers to add search and discovery features in their app by indexing their database.
- Managing Marketing with Mailchimp, which lets developers send personalized emails to their customers.
- Send Messages with MessageBird, which helps reach customers via text message, WhatsApp, or Telegram.
On the analytics side, Firebase Crashlytics, a component that helps to track and resolve bugs, will soon support custom keys for searching and filtering through apps. Alongside this, improvements to Crashlytics’ NDK and Unity are on the road, such as increased visibility into an accident’s root cause through detailed stack traces and improved device metadata for Unity apps like GPU, DPI, and resolution.
Google also announced today that Firebase Performance tracking, which gathers and presents information about programs’ performance, now processes data in real time. New traces in the Performance dashboard let developers sort, search, and pinpoint changes that need immediate attention.
“We think real-time observation will be a game-changer for program developers, because a big, stressful part of development is releasing a brand new version of your program,” Richards said. “You wish to monitor it and ensure it’s going nicely. With real time information, clients are going to have the ability to understand the operation of the program while it’s being released, so that is really fascinating.”
Remote Config and Performance
Firebase Remote Config enhancements are in tow, as well. Remote Config, which allows developers to dynamically control and change their app so that they can test ideas without having to release new versions, now shows more information about parameters, including their values and whether they’re safe to change. The publish flow has been updated to make it clearer which changes are pending. And the A/B test results page has been updated to better organize the remaining data.
Last but not least, Google says it’s launching a new Remote Config service called Personalization in alpha. It’ll give developers the ability to automatically optimize individual user experiences to maximize objectives, like revenue or engagement, through machine learning. After a setup, personalization will continuously find and apply app configurations for users to produce desirable outcomes.
Above: The Personalization dashboard in Firebase.
Image Credit: Google
“Personalization harnesses Google’s machine learning to create unique individual adventures,” Richards continued. “With it, app develo