Google today updated Firebase, its service for helping developers build apps for Android, iOS, and the web. Firebase has gained an In-App Messaging feature, new Crashlytics integrations, Remote Config change history, improvements to Firebase Hosting, a Firebase Cloud Messaging API dashboard, and a better console.
Over the years, Firebase has evolved from a real-time database to a mobile app development platform built on top of Google Cloud. These latest features are supposed to help mobile developers across every stage of the development cycle, including building apps, improving app quality, and growing their businesses. Firebase didn’t get the usual attention at Google’s I/O developer conference this year, and today the company is picking up the slack.
Firebase In-App Messaging
Firebase In-App Messaging, not to be confused with Firebase Cloud Messaging, is rolling out today to let developers nurture and engage their most valuable users — those who are actively using their app — by surfacing relevant information, offers, and tips. Push notifications help bring users back into your app, while in-app messaging will ensure they are interacting with your app “in the right, intended way” — Google hopes the targeted and contextual messages will “nudge them through the app funnel.”
Messages can be customized by format, color, and call to action. As you might expect, In-App Messaging is integrated with Google Analytics for Firebase and Firebase Predictions, so developers can target messages based on user profile data (language, app version, country), current behavior (purchases, screens visited, buttons clicked), and predicted future behavior (likelihood of spending, risk of churning).
Crashlytics integrations with BigQuery and Jira
Firebase Crashlytics is gaining two new integrations: BigQuery to power deeper analysis of crash data and Jira Software to alert teams about crashes. BigQuery integration is available today, while Jira integration will be rolling out “over the coming weeks.”
The former means developers can export their Crashlytics data from Firebase to BigQuery. As a result, developers can slice crash reports by custom metadata like Experiment ID and then visualize the trends with Data Studio or a similar tool. It also means you can finally take ownership of your data by setting your own retention and deletion policies, rather than relying on Firebase’s defaults.
The latter means developers can create Jira issues based on crashes reported in Firebase. This is particularly useful when coupled with the Crashlytics integration in Slack, as teams can now track the crashes they are working on.
Improvements to tools
Google has added change history to Remote Config, rolling out today and fully available to all projects “in a couple of days.” Firebase saves 300 versions of a project’s Remote Config for up to 90 days so developers can see how parameters and conditions changed over time. They can also roll back to a previous version with the click of a button.
Firebase Hosting will soon let developers host multiple websites within one project. This improvement will be rolling out “over the next weeks.” Furthermore, when pushing an update to a site, the Firebase CLI (from v4.1.0) now only uploads the files that have changed between releases, speeding up the whole process.
The Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) API — which lets developers send notifications and data messages to their Android, iOS, and web users — has received a new dashboard. The FCM API Reporting dashboard includes key notification stats like sends, impressions, and opens. It lets you filter sends by date, platform (Android or iOS), and send type (console or API).
Speaking of dashboards, the Project Overview page in the console now brings together data from all different parts of Firebase to give you a single view into the health of your app, services, and business. In addition to analytics and crash data, you can now view performance issues, notification and A/B test status, and the usage and health data for other Firebase services. The Latest Release section of the console will now have live data.
Lastly, Google has big plans for Fabric and Firebase, which incidentally were both acquisitions, but the company isn’t quite ready to share more just yet.