Google Buys Firebase, Fills Cloud Apps Hole

Bolstering Google Cloud Platform, Firebase service helps developers create mobile and web apps that store and sync data in real-time.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

October 22, 2014

3 Min Read

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In an effort to expand the capabilities of its Cloud Platform, Google has acquired Firebase, a service that helps developers create mobile and web apps that store and sync data in real-time.

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Google product management director Greg DeMichillie said in a blog post that, while developers are making an increasing number of mobile apps, they're still having a hard time integrating real-time services.

"With Firebase, developers are able to easily sync data across Web and mobile apps without having to manage connections or write complex sync logic," said DeMichillie. "Firebase makes it easy to build applications that work offline and has full-featured libraries for all major Web and mobile platforms, including Android and iOS."

[What else is Google up to? Read Magic Leap Lands Google Funds.]

DeMichillie said that Firebase will be added to the Google Cloud Platform and that developers of existing Firebase apps will start seeing improvements right away.

Google plans to demonstrate new Firebase features at its coming event, Google Cloud Platform Live, on November 4.

Google hopes to increase its share of the growing worldwide public cloud services market, which research firm IDC said reached $45.7 billion last year. IDC predicts a 23% compound annual growth rate for the cloud services market until 2018.

IDC divides the market into three segments: software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). The SaaS market is led by Google ranks fifth among the vendors in the PaaS market and isn't among the top five in the SaaS or the IaaS markets. Amazon ranks first in PaaS and IaaS.

Firebase co-founder and CEO James Tamplin said in a blog post that there were two reasons for joining Google: Google's resources will allow Firebase to grow faster, and the two companies are complementary.

"By joining forces, Firebase developers will gain access to a powerful cloud infrastructure suite, and Cloud Platform customers will gain access to our rapid development capabilities," he said.

Tamplin also offered assurance to developers that they can continue to use Firebase without any changes. The company will continue to be platform agnostic, he said, and to provide client software for iOS, Android, the web, and more.

It is, unfortunately, not unusual to see large companies acquire startups and then shut down their services or change their products in ways that disappoint early adopters. Designer and developer Phil Gyford's pointed collection of effusive acquisition announcements, "Our Incredible Journey," documents how frequently selling out leads to shutting down.

Firebase represents Google's 30th publicly disclosed acquisition this year.

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About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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