Google is making a big play for developer mindshare at Google I/O this week, and it’s all thanks to Facebook. In January, Facebook announced it would shut down its Parse service in a year, giving developers who rely on Parse for its various app-oriented backend services 12 months to cobble together an alternative. To Facebook’s credit, it open sourced Parse Server so developers can move their data and keep their apps alive, but the whole reason app developers chose Parse in the first place is because they didn’t want to deal with building a backend.
Enter Firebase. Google acquired Firebase in 2014, and has made a few tweaks to the service over time, but nothing major. Firebase’s claim to fame is realtime communication, making it perfect for chat services and other “live,” interactive apps and websites. But it’s mostly been a database, falling far short of a Parse killer. App developers need storage, analytics, authentication, messaging, reporting, push notifications, and ad help. So, as of today, Firebase has all of that stuff.