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Industrial sector(s)Computing and development tools
Leading companiesGoogle
InventorFirebase Inc.
Year of invention2012–present

Firebase is a platform developed by Google for creating mobile and web applications. It was originally an independent company founded in 2011. In 2014, Google acquired the platform[1] and it is now their flagship offering for app development.


Firebase evolved from Envolve, a prior startup founded by James Tamplin and Andrew Lee in 2011. Envolve provided developers an API that enables the integration of online chat functionality into their websites. After releasing the chat service, Tamplin and Lee found that it was being used to pass application data that were not chat messages. Developers were using Envolve to sync application data such as game state in real time across their users. Tamplin and Lee decided to separate the chat system and the real-time architecture that powered it.[2] They founded Firebase as a separate company in 2011 and it launched to the public in April 2012.[3]

Firebase's first product was the Firebase Realtime Database, an API that synchronizes application data across iOS, Android, and Web devices, and stores it on Firebase's cloud. The product assists software developers in building real-time, collaborative applications.

In May 2012, a month after the beta launch, Firebase raised $1.1 million in seed funding from venture capitalists Flybridge Capital Partners, Greylock Partners, Founder Collective, and New Enterprise Associates.[4] In June 2013, the company further raised $5.6 million in Series A funding from Union Square Ventures and Flybridge Capital Partners.[5]

In 2014, Firebase launched two products. Firebase Hosting[6] and Firebase Authentication.[7] This positioned the company as a mobile backend as a service.[citation needed]

In October 2014, Firebase was acquired by Google.[8] A year later, in October 2015, Google acquired Divshot, an HTML5 web-hosting platform, to merge it with the Firebase team.[9]

In May 2016, at Google I/O, the company's annual developer conference, Firebase introduced Firebase Analytics and announced that it was expanding its services to become a unified backend-as-a-service (BaaS) platform for mobile developers. Firebase now integrates with various other Google services, including Google Cloud Platform, AdMob, and Google Ads to offer broader products and scale for developers.[10] Google Cloud Messaging, the Google service to send push notifications to Android devices, was superseded by a Firebase product, Firebase Cloud Messaging, which added the functionality to deliver push notifications to both iOS and web devices.

In July 2016, Google announced that it was acquiring the mobile developer platform LaunchKit,[11] which specialized in app developer marketing, and would be folding it into the Firebase Growth Tools team. In January 2017, Google acquired Fabric and Crashlytics from Twitter to add those services to Firebase.[12][13]

In October 2017, Firebase has launched Cloud Firestore, a real-time document database as the successor product to the original Firebase Realtime Database.[14][15][16][17]

User privacy controversies[edit]

Firebase has been claimed to be used by Google to track users without their knowledge. On July 14, 2020, a lawsuit was filed accusing Google of violating federal wire tap law and California privacy law. It stated that through Firebase, Google collected and stored user data, logging what the user was looking at in many types of apps, despite the user following Google's own instructions to turn off the web and app activity collected by the company.[18]


  1. ^ Tamplin, James. "Firebase is Joining Google!". Firebase, Inc. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  2. ^ Melendez, Steven (May 27, 2014). "Sometimes You're Just One Hop From Something Huge". Fast Company. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  3. ^ Metz, Cade (April 12, 2012). "Firebase Does for Apps What Dropbox Did for Docs". Wired. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  4. ^ Ha, Anthony (May 22, 2012). "Firebase Raises $1.1M For Real-Time App Infrastructure". TechCrunch. Retrieved Feb 1, 2019.
  5. ^ Darrow, Barb (June 6, 2013). "Firebase gets $5.6M to launch its paid product and fire up its base". Gigaom. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  6. ^ Lardonis, Frederic (May 13, 2014). "Firebase Adds Web Hosting To Its Database Platform". Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  7. ^ "Firebase Auth". Firebase, Inc. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  8. ^ Tamplin, James. "Firebase is Joining Google!". Firebase, Inc. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  9. ^ Olanoff, Drew. "Google Acquires Divshot To Join Its Firebase Team, Will Shut Down In December". TechCrunch. Retrieved Feb 1, 2019.
  10. ^ Tamplin, James (May 18, 2016). "Firebase expands to become a unified app platform". Firebase, Inc. Retrieved Feb 1, 2019.
  11. ^ "Google acquires LaunchKit to make life easier for Android developers". The Next Web. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  12. ^ Paret, Rich (January 18, 2017). "Fabric is Joining Google". Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  13. ^ Ma, Francis (January 18, 2017). "Welcoming Fabric to Google". Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  14. ^ "Google launches Cloud Firestore, a new document database for app developers". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  15. ^ "Google Announces Firestore, a Document Database". InfoQ. Retrieved 2017-10-19.
  16. ^ "Firebase is launching Cloud Firestore, a new document database featuring realtime sync, no-hassle scaling, and offline support". Android Police. 2017-10-03. Retrieved 2017-10-19.
  17. ^ "Google's Cloud Firestore Lets You Focus On App Development |". |. 2017-10-05. Retrieved 2017-10-19.
  18. ^ "Google faces lawsuit over tracking in apps even when users opted out". Reuters. 2020-07-14. Retrieved 2020-07-14.

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