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Google Firebase announces Extensions, App Distribution for iOS and Android, and web app analytics

For many developers, apps aren't just about the platform they run on, but also integration with cloud services that transport notifications, data, crash reports, ads, and more. The breadth of services and features offered by Firebase ensured many developers would consider it a must-have in their apps, even if only for Crashlytics. With the fourth annual Firebase Summit in Madrid, several new announcements expand the product line even further with products and services that can make development even easier and more effective.

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[Update: No more errors] Tapping the Google Assistant icon on mobile web search brings up an error page

Google recently introduced one-tap access to Google Assistant from its mobile search engine webpage, presumably because being able to trigger it from the home screen or a physical button from every single device ever is a good thing. And if the device you held didn't have the assistant, the link would take you to a page where you could download it. Well, that link seems to have been broken.

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Firebase announces new in-app messaging capabilities, enhancements to the console and Crashlytics services, and more

A big new set of services began rolling out to Firebase users today. Google's mainstream service for push messaging and other app services just announced an assortment of new capabilities. The big addition in this update is a new in-app messaging feature that enables quick announcements and offers to users, and can be tied to certain user behaviors. There are also big revisions to the management console and statistics tracking views, upgrades to the Crashlytics services, a new history view for Remote Config, and more.

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Google announces ML Kit, a machine learning API for Android and iOS

Machine learning has been one of Google's main focuses for years now. To help other companies and app developers take advantage of the technology, Google today announced an API called 'ML Kit.' It allows apps to use machine learning for text recognition, face detection, scanning barcodes, and even detecting landmarks (similar to Google Lens).

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Google URL shortener shutting down

Google announced today that its URL shortening service,, will be shutting down starting in April. Existing links will still function, but on April 13, users who haven't used the site (or have only used it anonymously) will no longer be able to create short links. Users who have already created links will still be able to do so from the accounts they've previously used up until one year from today—March 30, 2019.

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Firebase announces major redesign of console with Crashlytics integration, A/B testing framework, Predictions engine, and more

Google's Firebase team has been hard at work lately. Earlier this month, Firebase added a whole new storage product called Cloud Firestore, but that was just the beginning. Several major additions and improvements were just announced during the keynote at the second annual Firebase Dev Summit taking place in Amsterdam.

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Firebase is launching Cloud Firestore, a new document database featuring realtime sync, no-hassle scaling, and offline support

Ever since Google acquired Firebase in 2014, it has grown to be a formidable platform for mobile and web app developers. Earlier this year, Google used its I/O 2017 app to feature some of the advantages provided by the Firebase Realtime Database and Cloud Functions for Firebase. Now Firebase is launching a new product called Cloud Firestore, a fully-managed NoSQL document database, and it boasts a pretty compelling set of features for developers.

Like the Firebase Realtime Database, Cloud Firestore is built on top of Google Cloud Platform for high reliability and performance. Firebase also designed it to automatically scale based on user demand so it can handle spikes if an app suddenly becomes popular, and Cloud Firestore performs multi-regional replication so it has low latency and reliability in the event a node goes down.

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[Firebase Firebase Firebase] The first wave of I/O sessions is live on the official site

Google I/O, otherwise known as Android Christmas, is about a month and a half away, but it's never too early to start getting excited about it. Even if you didn't get the opportunity to purchase a ticket or you did but can't go, the sessions are streamed live and then published on YouTube so everyone can watch them and catch up on all the new things in Android.

The Google I/O website was updated yesterday to add the first wave of Google I/O sessions, so you can start planning your schedule whether you're attending live or watching at home. The main keynote is the first day, May 17, at 10am PT, and it's followed by many sessions including "What's new in Android." The second day's sessions focus on more specifics like the new things in Google Play, Android Security, and Android Design Tools.

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Google acquires Fabric, a popular mobile developer platform for performance tracking and crash reporting

Ask all of the mobile app developers to name the SDKs and third-party services they're using and the answer you're likely to hear more than any other is Fabric, or possibly Crashlytics (a component of Fabric). Many apps rely on Fabric for crash reporting, performance metrics, and other services that are hard to build in-house, but prove very useful when supporting an app and making business decisions. Fabric announced earlier today that it had reached an agreement to be acquired by Google, leaving behind its parent company Twitter.

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Android Studio v2.2 released to stable channel with new layout designer and ConstraintLayout, test recorder, APK Analyzer, and much more

The Android Tools Team has been hard at work on version 2.2 of Android Studio, and it's finally ready to step up to a stable release. Demonstrated at Google I/O, the preview release of v2.2 introduced a plethora of great new features and improvements intended to make app development faster and easier. Over the last four months, Studio has been continually tested and refined to get it ready for all developers, regardless of which development channels they're normally following. For anybody that hasn't been following along with the canary or dev builds, the video below summarizes many of the new improvements in this release.

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