Jason Mill


Firebase announced some stuff at Google I/O 2018 that’s got us licking our lips…

Photo by Nghia Le on Unsplash

Our team at Flamelink.io has made no secret about how much we love Firebase (I mean we did end up building a headless CMS specifically for Firebase, you know?). It’s fast, secure, scalable and the list of powerful features and products goes on. But the thing that excites us most about Firebase is that they’re constantly rolling out rad products that benefit the developers and their Apps that entrust Firebase for their BaaS needs - a characteristic I believe is key to their massive inroads in the BaaS space over the last few years.

At Google I/O 2018, Firebase made a number of announcements that we’re super pumped about. If you’re using Firebase for your project and you can only read one thing today, this list should be it (and when you’re done, bookmark this link to binge watch all of the Firebase sessions at Google I/O 2018 later).

  1. The Machine Learning Kit for Firebase

On Tuesday at Google I/O, Firebase introduced the beta version of the ML Kit bringing Google’s machine learning expertise to mobile devs.

Firebase has made it easier for ML beginners to get going with 5 out-the-box APIs that cover common mobile use cases. These are:

  • Barcode scanning
  • Face detection
  • Image labeling
  • Landmark recognition
  • Text recognition

At a very high-level understanding/application of machine learning, let’s consider the following:

This morning, I used an App for my local coffee shop to redeem a free coffee I had via their loyalty program. To redeem my voucher, it took 7 taps to get to redeem my free coffee.

Now imagine that with machine learning, the coffee shop’s App picked up that I was in one of their coffee shops (Landmark recognition), and it’s learnt that when I open up the App, I do one of the following: I either earn a voucher for a coffee purchased, or I redeem a reward to get my free coffee. The App could open up in a screen where I am given the option to select “redeem” (if I had a reward waiting) or “earn” my coffee reward right away. Boom, 3 taps from opening my phone to completing the transaction.

Imagine a step further, the App recognises that my wife’s phone (with her coffee shop App) is near mine, it knows what I order (2 double-shot, short Flat Whites), knows what her order is (a single-shot, decaf, Honey-Nut Latte) and sends a push notification as I’m getting out of the car and walking up to the shop, giving me an option to order, pay and earn my 3 vouchers, all within a few steps and helping my skip the queue and straight to pick-up (Barcode scanning).

Text recognition could be in there too, if my wife told me to bring her a croissant with her coffee, but hey, I’m just here to grab a coffee, not solve the whole world’s problems.

What a WOW!

Now I know that the capabilities of ML stretches well beyond helping me get my daily caffeine fix faster. I know that it’s one of those amazing inventions of our time that can enable tech for good, tech that can make a difference in solving some of the worlds greatest challenges. But for right now, I’m just imaging the thousands of Firebase Apps out there and how they’ll benefit from ML, and that excites me.

Learn more about the ML kit for Firebase from the experts themselves.

2) Firebase Test Lab is expanding to iOS

In the tech space, we all know how important it is to make sure the stuff you put out there, the stuff that’s been because of your blood, sweat, tears, late nights, early mornings and large volumes of coffee actually works. Not only that, but that it also works on both Android and iOS.

That’s why Test Labs rolling out for iOS is a pretty big deal — it’ll help developers to be able to battle test their Apps and getting them to a high quality before you releasing it to the harshest critics of all — public users. QA Teams all over are celebrating right now.

Test Lab provides you with physical and virtual devices that allow you to run tests to simulate actual usage environments — can you hear the garrisons of QA Teams all over are celebrating right now.

If you want to be an early Test Labber, get on the waiting list today here. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf5cx1ot8ndHU9YrFkCn6gPoQZLxgW_6H13e_bot3he90n7Ng/viewform

3) Performance Monitoring graduates out of beta.

Launched into beta at I/O last year, Performance Monitoring gives you a bunch of key insights and info to help you keep you App performing optimally.

Firebase currently reports 100 billion performance metrics every day, with Developers of some of the biggest Apps on the planet using this data to make their Apps work better.

You’ll also note that with this graduation, there are already some improvements rolled out onto the Firebase console.

Fore more on Firebase Performance Managing, check out:

These are just three of the Firebase product announcements made at I/O 2018 that we’re stoked about. Check out the Firebase blog for more about other Firebase products announced at I/O.

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