Google Buys Firebase for Cloud and Mobile App Development
Looking to bolster its presence in the cloud computing sector, Google on Wednesday announced that it has acquired real-time backend development firm and API developer Firebase for an undisclosed sum. Employees at the San Francisco-based company will be integrated into the Google Cloud Platform division, according to the company.
Founded in 2011, Firebase provides a cloud-based synchronization service that helps developers build mobile apps. Its service allows apps running on mobile operating systems to share and sync data through a cloud server in real time. The company currently has around 110,000 developers registered on its platform.
Opportunity to Scale
“Mobile is one of the fastest-growing categories of app development, but it’s also still too hard for most developers,” Google wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition. According to the company, Firebase’s technology will allow developers to sync data across web and mobile apps without having to manage connections or write complex sync logic.
“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,” according to Google. The company hopes that by combining Firebase with Google Cloud Platform, it will be able to build a competitive, end-to-end platform for mobile application development.
According to James Tamplin, co-founder and CEO of Firebase, the firm decided to sell itself to Google to grow the company and to gain access to Google’s cloud infrastructure. “Google’s backing allows us to dramatically scale Firebase,” he said in a blog post Wednesday. “With Google’s engineering talent, resources, and technical infrastructure, we’ll be able to do much more, much faster.”
He also sought to assure developers that Firebase would remain platform agnostic despite the acquisition. “If you’re a developer who has built an app on top of Firebase, nothing will change for you, and you can continue to use Firebase as you normally would.”
Buying the Cloud
Google said it plans to demonstrate new Firebase features and its integration into the cloud platform division at Google Cloud Platform Live, its keynote event taking place November 4 in San Francisco. The company said that developers who are currently developing Firebase apps should begin seeing improvements immediately.
Google currently ranks fifth in the platform-as-a-service market, according to research firm IDC. With the Firebase acquisition, it will be competing with the likes of Amazon Web Services, the top-ranked provider of cloud-based computing services for developers.
Microsoft has also been bolstering its cloud tools offerings lately by beefing up its Azure service. IDC recently said that the global market for public cloud services reached $45.7 billion in 2013, and is expected to grow an additional 23 percent by 2018.
The acquisition represents Google’s third major acquisition in the cloud computing sector this year. In May it bought Stackdriver, a cloud-based monitoring service for developers, and in August it scooped up the visual effects rendering company Zync.