After taking a hiatus in 2020, Google I/O is back and we’re excited to take part in this revamped, digital event to share the updates we’ve made to Firebase. Over the past year, apps helped us adapt and thrive in our new circumstances, and apps will no doubt continue to play an important role for many years to come. Our mission is to empower developers like you to succeed by providing the resources and technology you need to unblock innovation in ways big and small, so you can focus on building and scaling the apps that people rely on.
We’re happy to share that now, over 3 million apps actively use Firebase every month, including large global businesses and fast-growing startups. Your trust in us is what motivates us to make Firebase even better. Today at Google I/O 2021, we’re unveiling updates to our platform that will help you accelerate app development, run your app more effectively, and optimize your user experience so you can grow your business. Read on for more, and don’t forget to check out the What’s New in Firebase session.
Accelerate app development with new building blocks
We’re continuing to invest in tools that save you time so you can focus on the things you love and deliver value to your users, faster.
The Storage Emulator joins the Emulator Suite for broader backend coverage
The Emulator Suite lets you run emulated versions of our backend products on your own machine, enabling rapid iteration without interfering with production data or incurring costs. A few months ago, we added support for Firebase Authentication and now, we’re pleased to announce that Cloud Storage for Firebase is also joining the Emulator Suite, giving you broader coverage of our backend products. With the Storage Emulator, you can upload, download, and modify files as you would in production. It also interacts seamlessly with the other emulators, so you can trigger Cloud Functions for Firebase and protect access to your files with Firebase Authentication, all while developing and testing locally on your desktop machine. To use the Emulator Suite, download the Firebase CLI and launch the emulators on your machine or check out our documentation.
Firebase App Distribution now supports Android App Bundles for streamlined testing
Firebase App Distribution makes it easy to distribute pre-release versions of your app to trusted testers so you can get valuable feedback before launch. App Distribution lets you manage all of your pre-release builds for both iOS and Android in a central hub, and it gives you the flexibility to distribute these builds right from the console or using the command-line tools that are already part of your workflow - like Gradle, Firebase CLI, and fastlane. Today, we’re adding support for Android App Bundles! Now, you can test the actual binaries that Android users install on their devices. App Bundles are the future of publishing on Google Play; by launching this feature, our goal is to make the transition as simple and smooth as possible for you. To learn more about Android App Bundle releases with App Distribution, check out the docs.
Strengthening app security with App Check
Keeping your infrastructure and users safe is an important priority for us. That’s why we’re excited to announce that App Check, a powerful new security feature, is now available in beta. App Check is an additional layer of security that protects access to your services by verifying that incoming traffic is coming from your app, and blocking traffic that doesn’t have valid credentials. Right now, App Check is available for Cloud Storage, Realtime Database, and Cloud Functions for Firebase, and we’ll be expanding it to other products soon! Register your app with App Check and start enforcing protections through the Firebase console. To learn more about App Check, check out our documentation.
New modularized Web SDKs improve load times
In addition to adding a new layer of security, we have just released new versions of all of the Firebase web SDKs to beta. These new SDKs allow you to import only what you need, reducing SDK size up to 80%, which can lead to less code and faster page loads. Download the new modularized SDKs today!
More Extensions for adding features and functionality
Firebase Extensions are pre-packaged bundles of code that automate common development tasks and let you add new functionality to your app in fewer steps. Now, we’re partnering with companies you know and trust so you can do even more. A few months ago, we worked with Stripe to launch the Run Subscription Payments with Stripe and the Send Invoices using Stripe extensions.
We’re pleased to announce new Extensions that help you implement search on Firestore with Algolia, send personalized emails to your customers with MailChimp, communicate with your users with MessageBird, and analyze user generated content with the Perspective API from Jigsaw, all without having to write any code or learn new APIs on your own. For more details, go to the Firebase Extensions page and install them today!
Gain actionable insights to run your app efficiently
Firebase products uncover actionable insights about your app, which you can use to deliver high-quality experiences to your users
Enhanced search, filtering, and games reporting in Crashlytics
Firebase Crashlytics gives you a complete view into your app’s stability so you can track, prioritize, and resolve bugs before they impact a large number of users. Many of you have instrumented Crashlytics custom keys as a way to gain more context about your app’s crashes. Now, you can find trends across these custom keys and filter down sessions to understand and fix your app’s trickiest crashes with Crashlytics’ new custom keys search and filtering capabilities.
Today, we’re also launching major improvements to Crashlytics to better meet the needs of game developers building natively or via popular game engines such as Unity and Cocos2d. These improvements include increased visibility into a crash’s root cause through more reliable and detailed NDK stack traces, superior grouping of Unity crashes, and by surfacing enhanced device metadata for Unity apps like GPU, DPI, Resolution, and more. This will help you ensure your players get a fun gaming experience that doesn’t abruptly crash.
Unveiling realtime data for Performance Monitoring and a revamped dashboard
High performance is key to user retention and engagement. Firebase Performance Monitoring gathers and presents data about your app’s performance, so you know exactly what’s happening in your app - and when users are experiencing slowness - from their point of view. Today, we’re excited to announce that Performance Monitoring now processes data in real time! This means you can closely watch your app’s performance during a release or while you’re launching a new feature, and then take action right away if issues arise.
GIF showing Firebase Performance Monitoring processing data
A few months ago, we introduced you to the redesigned, customizable Performance Monitoring dashboard that allows you to bring the metrics you care about most to the forefront. Now, we’ve added a new traces table to this dashboard. The traces table helps you sort, search, and pinpoint the biggest performance changes that need your immediate attention - even if the changes occur in metrics you don’t monitor every day. The fully revamped Performance Monitoring dashboard with realtime data gives you a full picture of your app’s performance in one place. To get the new traces table with realtime data, simply update to the latest Performance Monitoring SDK.
Optimize your user experience to scale with ease
We’ve been working hard to strengthen Firebase Remote Config so as your app and business grow, you can tailor Firebase to suit your sophisticated needs.
Remote Config updates help you better visualize and optimize your app configuration
Firebase Remote Config lets you dynamically control and change your app so you can set up feature flags, run experiments to test ideas, and deliver personalized experiences, all without releasing a new version of your app. Over the past few months, we’ve made several improvements to help you better visualize your configuration and easily optimize your app to drive the outcomes you want - whether that’s increasing subscriptions like Tapple or Mobills, or boosting ad revenue like Pomelo Games.
First, we’ve redesigned the Remote Config console to highlight vital information and give you more flexibility. For example, we’ve increased the length of parameter descriptions, which means you have more space to describe what a parameter does, what values it can take, and whether or not it is safe to change. You can also expand or collapse parameters to see all of its conditional values in one view.
Second, we’ve updated the publish flow to make it crystal clear which of your changes are pending, and remind you to publish changes in your newly edited configuration.
Third, we’ve completely overhauled the Remote Config A/B test results page to remove unnecessary information and better organize the remaining data so you can act on your experiment results with confidence.
Last but not least, we’re putting the finishing touches on a new feature of Remote Config, called personalization. Personalization will give you the ability to automatically optimize individual user experiences to maximize the objectives you care about - such as revenue or engagement - through the power of machine learning. After a simple setup, personalization will continuously find and apply the right app configuration for each user to produce the best outcome, taking the load off of you. If you want an early look at this feature and to try it out for yourself, join our Alpha program.
Coming up next
With these improvements to Firebase, we aim to make app development faster, easier, and streamline your path to business success. People are relying on your apps to thrive in our new world, and you can rely on us to help you build, run, and scale your apps. Over the next few days, be sure to check out sessions, workshops, and more we have lined up for Google I/O 2021, and stay tuned for the rest of the year because we’ll have plenty more exciting announcements in the second half of 2021!