One of Firebase Analytics' most powerful features is the ability for you to view and analyze your Analytics data directly in BigQuery. By linking your Firebase apps with BigQuery, all of your raw, unsampled, app data is exported into BigQuery on a daily basis. This gives you the ability to run powerful ad-hoc queries on your data, combine your Firebase Analytics data with that from other analytics libraries, or run your own custom reporting tools directly on top of your data.
And while this feature is quite popular with developers, it comes with one occasionally-frustrating limitation: You typically have to wait about 24 hours for your daily analytics data to be collected and exported into a BigQuery table. This was often inconvenient from a development-and-testing standpoint. But it also meant that app developers were a little less nimble than they could have been. After all, if your latest A/B test was causing people to abandon your app, wouldn't it be nice to find that out in 20 minutes, rather than 24 hours?
So starting this week, we're happy to announce that you will now be able to see your Firebase Analytics data in BigQuery in near real-time!
Here's how it works: If you've gone ahead and linked up BigQuery with your Firebase project, then Firebase Analytics will, by default, send all of its data to BigQuery as soon as it receives it. In addition to your usual
appevents_ tables, there's now a special
appevents_intraday_ table that will collect all of your incoming data for that day.
You're welcome to analyze and run queries against this
intraday table to your heart's content. It looks just like your other BigQuery analytics tables; the only data you won't find there is lifetime value data and campaign information (the
traffic_source record). At the end of the day , this data will be moved into its permanent
appevents_ home, and the old intraday table will be automatically cleaned up for you.
Of course, BigQuery usage and storage charges still apply. Which does mean that you'll need to upgrade your Firebase project to the Blaze plan in order to receive these benefits. But considering that BigQuery exporting is a feature analytics customers typically had to pay quite a bit of money for in the past, I still think it's a pretty good deal.
If you're new to BigQuery, you can find out more here and start playing around with it. It's fun! Or, as fun as running fast queries against large sets of data gets, I suppose.
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