Tag Archives: I/O

I/O 2019: New features to help you develop, release, and grow your business on Google Play

Posted by Kobi Glick, Product Lead, Google Play

Play and #io19 logos with geometric shapes

Over the last 10 years, we’ve worked together to build an incredible ecosystem with more than 2.5 billion active users in over 190 countries. This would not be possible without you and all the fantastic apps and games you’ve built that entertain, help, and educate people around the world.

Every month, you upload more than 750,000 APKs and app bundles to the Play Console. We’ve been amazed by your enthusiasm, and it’s been our privilege to help you grow your business. This year, we want to help you go even further. So today at Google I/O, we're announcing new tools and features to help you develop, release, and grow your apps and games — many of them based on your feedback and suggestions.

Efficient, modular apps and customizable feature delivery

Last year we introduced Android's new publishing format, the Android App Bundle, and an entirely new dynamic delivery framework on Google Play. There are now over 80,000 apps and games using app bundles in production, with an average size savings of 20%. As a result of those savings, apps have seen up to 11% install uplift. As the future of app delivery, we’re excited to share these latest enhancements to the Android App Bundle.

Dynamic features are out of beta and available to all developers, including these new delivery options:

  • On-demand delivery — install features when they’re needed or in the background, instead of delivering them at install time, and reduce the size of your app.
  • Conditional delivery — control which parts of your app to deliver at the time of install based on the user’s country, device features, or minimum SDK version.
  • Instant experiences — now fully supported, so you only need to upload one artifact for your installed app and Google Play Instant experiences.

During our beta program, many developers implemented interesting use cases with dynamic features. Netflix, for example, now delivers their customer support functionality as a dynamic feature to users who visit the support center. By making functionality available only to users who need it, Netflix reported a 33% reduction in app size. You can learn more in the video below.

Seamless internal testing and increased security

We heard you loud and clear: testing bundles is hard. But with the new internal app sharing, you can now share test builds in a matter of seconds. Just upload your app bundle to Google Play and get a download URL to share with your testers. You don’t need to worry about version codes, signing keys, or most other validations that your production releases need to conform to.

In addition to efficiency and modularity, the Android App Bundle also now offers increased security with the launch of app signing key upgrade for new installs. With this feature, you can upgrade the cryptographic strength of your signing key for new installs and their updates on Google Play. Many developers sign their apps with keys generated a long time ago, and this new feature is the only backwards-compatible way to increase their strength.

Easier for users to update

Although auto-updates reach many users, you told us it was still challenging to get some users to update your apps. Now that our new in-app updates API is in general availability, users will be able to update without ever leaving your app. During our early access program, many developers used our API to create a polished upgrade flow, resulting in a median acceptance rate of about 50%.

The API currently supports two flows:

  • The “immediate” flow is a full-screen user experience that guides the user from download to update before they can use your app.
  • The “flexible flow” allows users to download the update while continuing to use your app.
Two iPhones side by side. The first on displaying Immediate update flow with a pop up recommending an update. The second displaying Flexible update flow with a pop up recommending an update.

Stronger decision-making with new Google Play Console data

The right data can help you improve your app performance and grow your business. That’s why we’re excited to tell you about new metrics and insights that will help you better measure your app health and analyze your performance.

  • Core metrics refresh — better understand your acquisition and churn, including data on returning users, automatic change analysis, install method (such as pre-installs and peer-to-peer sharing), metric benchmarking, and the ability to aggregate and dedupe over periods from hours to quarters.
  • App size metrics and reports — gain insights about your app size in Android vitals, including download size, size on device (at install time), changes compared to peers over time, and tailored optimization recommendations.
  • Developer-selected peer benchmarks — create a custom set of 8-12 peers to compare your app to, then see the median value of the set and the difference between your app and its peers for Android vitals data as well as for public metrics like your rating.
  • Market insights with curated peersets — in the coming months, you’ll also be able to compare your growth against an automatically generated, curated peerset of around 100 apps similar to yours for business-sensitive metrics like conversion rate and uninstall rate.
Android Vitals Overview dashboard on Peer group screen

Making it easier to respond to and improve user reviews

We’re also making big changes to another key source of performance data: your user reviews. Many of you told us that you want a rating that reflects a more current version of your app, not what it was years ago — and we agree. So instead of a lifetime cumulative value, your Google Play Store rating will be recalculated to give more weight to your most recent ratings. Users won’t see the updated rating in the Google Play Store until August, but you can preview your new rating in the Google Play Console today.

Every day, developers respond to more than 100,000 reviews in the Play Console, and when they do, we’ve seen that users update their rating by +0.7 stars on average. So in addition to the ratings change, we're making it easier to respond to reviews with suggested replies. When you go to respond to a user, you’ll see three suggested replies which have been created automatically based on the content of the review. You can choose to send one as-suggested, customize a suggestion for more personalization, or create your own message from scratch. Suggested replies are available in English now with additional languages coming later.

Google user review with suggested replies in Beta.

Better Google Play Store listing targeting and customization

Your store listing is where users come to learn more about your app or game and decide whether to install. It’s important real estate, so we’re releasing new features that let you optimize your Google Play Store to address different moments in the user lifecycle.

  • Following the launch of custom listings by country at GDC, we’re announcing a new early access program that lets you create custom listings by install state. Increase acquisition, retention, and re-engagement by providing customized marketing messages for users who haven’t installed your app, users who have your app, and users who have uninstalled your app. If you’re interested in joining the program, sign up here.
  • Now that pre-registration is available to all developers, we’re launching two new features to help you make the most of it: custom listing pages for pre-registration and pre-registration rewards, which let you incentivize players for signing up for notifications before you launch.

Learn more about these and other Google Play features at Google I/O. Join us live or watch later on the Android Developers YouTube channel.

You can also take your skills and knowledge to the next level with our e-learning courses on Google Play’s Academy for App Success, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with our latest features and updates.

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Flutter: a Portable UI Framework for Mobile, Web, Embedded, and Desktop

Posted by the Flutter Team

Today marks an important milestone for the Flutter framework, as we expand our focus from mobile to incorporate a broader set of devices and form factors. At I/O, we’re releasing our first technical preview of Flutter for web, announcing that Flutter is powering Google’s smart display platform including the Google Home Hub, and delivering our first steps towards supporting desktop-class apps with Chrome OS.

From Mobile to Multi-Platform

For a long time, the Flutter team mission has been to build the best framework for developing mobile apps for iOS and Android. We believe that mobile development is ripe for improvement, with developers today forced to choose between building the same app twice for two platforms, or making compromises to use cross-platform frameworks. Flutter hits the sweet spot of enabling a single codebase to deliver beautiful, fast, tailored experiences with high developer productivity for both platforms, and we’ve been excited to see how our early efforts have flourished into one of the most popular open source projects.

As we started to home in on our 1.0 release last year, we began experimenting with broadening the scope of Flutter to other platforms. This was triggered both by internal teams within Google who are increasingly relying on Flutter, as well as the latent potential of the Dart platform for delivering portable experiences. In particular, a small team who were already building a web framework for Dart for internal usage started an exploratory project (codename “Hummingbird”) to evaluate the technical merits of porting the Flutter engine to support the standards-based web.

The results of this project were startling, thanks in large part to the rapid progress in web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, which have pervasively delivered hardware-accelerated graphics, animation, and text as well as fast JavaScript execution. Within a few months of beginning the project, we had the core Flutter framework primitives working, and soon after we had demos running on mobile and desktop browsers. Along with Dart’s long pedigree of compiling for the web, this proved that we could also bring the Flutter framework and apps to run on the web.

In parallel, the core Flutter project has been making progress to enable desktop-class apps, with input paradigms such as keyboard and mouse, window resizing, and tooling for Chrome OS app development. The exploratory work that we did for embedding Flutter into desktop-class apps running on Windows, Mac and Linux has also graduated into the core Flutter engine.

A Portable UI Framework for All Screens

Flutter Mobile, Web, Desktop, and Embedded

It’s worth pausing for a moment to acknowledge the business potential of a high-performance, portable UI framework that can deliver beautiful, tailored experiences to such a broad variety of form factors from a single codebase.

For startups, the ability to reach users on mobile, web, or desktop through the same app lets them reach their full audience from day one, rather than having limits due to technical considerations. Especially for larger organizations, the ability to deliver the same experience to all users with one codebase reduces complexity and development cost, and lets them focus on improving the quality of that experience.

With support for mobile, desktop, and web apps, our mission expands: we want to build the best framework for developing beautiful experiences for any screen.

Flutter for Web

This week, we are releasing the first technical preview of Flutter for the web. While this technology is still in development, we are ready for early adopters to try it out and give us feedback. Our initial vision for Flutter on the web is not as a general purpose replacement for the document experiences that HTML is optimized for; instead we intend it as a great way to build highly interactive, graphically rich content, where the benefits of a sophisticated UI framework are keenly felt.

To showcase Flutter for the web, we worked with the New York Times to build a demo. In addition to world-class news coverage, the New York Times is famous for its crossword and other puzzle games. Since avid puzzlers want to play on whatever device they’re using at the time, their development team was attracted to Flutter as a potential solution for their needs. Discovering that they could reach the web with the same code was a huge boon. At Google I/O this week, you can get a sneak peek of their newly refreshed KENKEN puzzle game, which runs with the same code on Android, iOS, web, Mac, and Chrome OS.

ken-gratulations puzzle

Here’s what Eric von Coelln, Executive Director of Puzzles at the New York Times has to say about their experiences with Flutter:

"The New York Times Crossword has more than 400,000 stand-alone subscriptions and is a daily ritual for puzzle solvers. Along with the Crossword, we’ve grown our portfolio of digital puzzles that reaches more than two million solvers each month.

We were already beginning to explore Flutter as a potential solution to the challenge of quickly developing engaging, high-quality mobile experiences. Now the addition of being able to publish to web makes Flutter an even more appealing option to quickly deploy across all of our user platforms. This update of our old Flash-based KenKen game into a multi-platform playable experience is something we’re excited to bring to our solvers this year.”

There’s lots more to say about Flutter for web than we have space for here, so check out the dedicated article about Flutter for web on the Flutter blog.

At this early stage, we’re eager to get your feedback on how you’d like to use Flutter for web. We expect to rapidly evolve the code, with a particular focus on performance, and harmonizing the codebase with the rest of the Flutter project.

Flutter for Mobile Devices

The core Flutter framework also receives an upgrade this week, with the immediate availability of Flutter 1.5 in our stable channel. Flutter 1.5 includes hundreds of changes in response to developer feedback, including updates for new App Store iOS SDK requirements, updates to the iOS and Material widgets, engine support for new device types, and Dart 2.3 featuring new UI-as-code language features.

As the framework itself matures, we’re investing in building out the supporting ecosystem. The architectural model of Flutter has always prioritized a small core framework, supplemented by a rich package community. In the last few months, Google has contributed production-quality packages for web views, Google Maps, and Firebase ML Vision, and this week, we’re adding initial support for in-app payments. And with over 2,000 open source packages available for Flutter, there are options available for most scenarios.

One particularly exciting project that we’re announcing this week at I/O is the ML Kit Custom Image Classifier. Built using Flutter and Firebase, it offers an easy-to-use app-based workflow for creating custom image classification models. You can collect training data using the phone's camera, invite others to contribute to your datasets, trigger model training, and use trained models, all from the same app.

Flutter ML Kit: create datasets, collaborate to collect data, train model, run inference

Flutter continues to grow in popularity and adoption. A growing roster of demanding customers including eBay, Sonos, Square, Capital One, Alibaba and Tencent are developing apps with Flutter. And they’re having fun! Here’s what Larry McKenzie, a senior developer at eBay had to say about Flutter:

“Flutter is fast! Features that once took us multiple days to implement can be finished in a single day. Many problems we used to spend a lot of time on, simply no longer occur. Our team can now focus on creating more polished user experiences and delivering functionality. Flutter is enabling us to exceed expectations!”

More broadly, LinkedIn recently conducted a study that showed Flutter is the single fastest-growing skill among software engineers, based on site members claiming it on their profile over the last 12 months. And in the recent 2019 StackOverflow developer survey, Flutter was listed as one of the most-loved developer frameworks.

Flutter for Desktop

Flutter is also being used on the desktop. For some months, we’ve been working on the desktop as an experimental project. But now we’re graduating this into Flutter engine, integrating this work directly into the mainline repo. While these targets are not production-ready yet, we have published early instructions for developing Flutter apps to run on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Another quickly growing Flutter platform is Chrome OS, with millions of Chromebooks being sold every year, particularly in education. Chrome OS is a perfect environment for Flutter, both for running Flutter apps, and as a developer platform, since it supports execution of both Android and Linux apps. With Chrome OS, you can use Visual Studio Code or Android Studio to develop a Flutter app that you can test and run locally on the same device without an emulator. You can also publish Flutter apps for Chrome OS to the Play Store, where millions of others can benefit from your creation.

Flutter for Embedded Devices

As the final example of Flutter’s portability, we offer Flutter embedded on other devices. We recently published samples that demonstrate Flutter running directly on smaller-scale devices like Raspberry Pi, and we offer an embedding API for Flutter that allows it to be used in scenarios including home, automotive and beyond.

Perhaps one of the most pervasive embedded platforms where Flutter is already running is on the smart display operating system that powers the likes of Google Home Hub.

Within Google, some Google-built features for the Smart Display platform are powered by Flutter today. And the Assistant team is excited to continue to expand the portfolio of features built with Flutter for the Smart Display in the coming months; the goal this year is to use Flutter to drive the overall system UI.

Other Resources

We often get asked by developers how they can get started with Flutter. We are pleased today to announce a comprehensive new training course for Flutter, built by The App Brewery, authors of the highest-rated iOS training course on Udemy. Their new course has over thirty hours of content for Flutter, including videos, demos and labs, and with Google’s sponsorship, they are announcing today a time-limited discount of this course from the retail price of $199 to just $10.

Many developers are creating inspiring apps with Flutter. In the run-up to Google I/O, we ran a contest called Flutter Create to encourage developers to see what they could build with Flutter in 5KB or less of Dart code. We had over 750 unique entries from around the world, with some amazing examples that pushed what we imagine would be possible in such a small size.

Today, we’re announcing the winners, which can be found on flutter.dev/create. Congratulations to the overall winner, Zebiao Hu, who wins a fully-loaded iMac Pro worth over $10,000!

Flutter is no longer a mobile framework, but a multi-platform framework that can help you reach your users wherever they are. We can’t wait to see what you’ll build with Flutter on the web, desktop, mobile, and beyond!

Creating AR Experiences for I/O: Our Process

Posted by Karin Levi, Product Marketing, ARCore

A few weeks ago at Google I/O we released a major update to ARCore, Google's AR development platform. We added new APIs like Cloud Anchors, that enable multi-user, collaborative AR experiences and Augmented Images that enable activation of 2D images into 3D objects. All of these updates are going to change the way we use AR today and enable developers to create richer, more immersive AR apps.

With these new capabilities, we decided to put our platform to the test. So we built real experiences to showcase how these all come to life. All demos were presented at the I/O AR & VR sandbox area. We open sourced them to make sure you can see how simple it is to build these experiences. We're pretty happy with how they turned out and would love to share with you some learning and insights from behind the scenes.

Light Board - Multiplayer game

Light Board is an AR multiplayer tabletop game where two players on floating game boards launch colored projectiles at each other.

While building Light Board it was important for us to keep in mind who the end users are. We wanted it to be a simple/fun game for developers to try out while visiting the I/O sandbox. The developers would only have a couple minutes to play while passing through, so it needed to allow players (even non-gamers) to pick it up and play with very little setup.

The artwork for Light Board was a major focus. Our mission for the look of the game was to align with the design and decor of I/O 2018. This way, our app would feel like an extension of everything the attendees saw around them. As a result, our design philosophy had 3 goals; bright accent colors, simple graphic shapes and natural physical materials.

Left: Design for AR/VR Sandbox at I/O 2018. Right: Key art for Light Board game boards

The artwork was created in Maya and Cinema 4D. We created physically based materials for our models using Substance Painter. Just as continuous iteration is crucial for engineering, it is also important when creating art assets. With that in mind, we kept careful track of our content pipeline, even for this relatively simple project. This allowed us to quickly try out different looks and board styles before settling on our final design.

On the engineering front we selected the Unity game engine as our dev environment. Unity gives us a couple of important advantages. First, it is easy to get great looking 3D graphics up and running right away. Second, the engine component is already complete, so we could immediately start iterating on gameplay code. As with the artwork, this allowed us to test gameplay options before we made a final decision. Additionally, Unity gave us support for both Android and iOS with only a little extra work.

To handle the multiplayer aspect we used Firebase Realtime Database. We were concerned with network performance at the event, and felt that the persistent nature of a database would make it more tolerant of poor networks. As it turned out, it worked very well and we got the ability to quit and rejoin games for free!

We had a lot of fun building Light Board and we hope people can use it as an example of how easy it can be to not only build AR apps, but to use really cool features like Cloud Anchors. Please check out our open source repo and give Light Board a try!

Just a line - Draw with your friends

In March, we released Just a Line, an Android app that lets you draw in the air with your phone. It's a simple experiment meant to showcase the power of ARCore. At Google I/O, we added Cloud Anchors to the app so that two people can draw at once in the same space, even if one of them is using Android and the other iOS.

Both apps were built natively: The Android version was written in Android Studio, and the iOS version was built in xCode. ARCore's Cloud Anchors enable Just a Line to pair two phones, allowing users to draw simultaneously in a shared space. Pairing works across Android and iOS devices, and drawings are synchronized live through a Firebase Realtime Database. You can find the open-source code for iOS here and for Android here.

Illusive Images - Art exhibition comes to life

"Illusive Images" demo is an augmented gallery consisting of 3 artworks, each exploring a different augmented image use case and user experience. As one walks from side to side, around the object, or gazes in a specific direction, 2D artworks are married with 3D, inviting the viewer to enter into the space of the artwork spanning well beyond the physical frame.

Due to the visual design nature of our augmented images, we experimented a lot with creating databases with varying degrees of features. In order to get the best results, we iterated quickly by resizing the canvas for the artwork. We also moved and stretched the brightness and contrast levels. These variations helped to achieve the most optimal image without compromising design intent.

The app was built in Unity with ARCore, with the majority of assets created in Cinema 4D. Mograph animations were imported into Unity as an fbx, and driven entirely by the position of the user in relation to the artwork. An example project can be found here.

To make your development experience easier, we open sourced all the demos our team built. We hope you find this useful! You can also visit our website to learn more and start building AR experiences today.

Browse the updated Google I/O 2018 schedule and reserve seats for Sessions

The Google I/O 2018 schedule just got a big update!

Find additional Sessions and Codelabs, as well as new App Reviews, Office Hours, and After Hours events. Times and locations for all events are also now available, so you can start planning accordingly. New this year: we'll have a series of Keynote Sessions, which take a broader look at how the technology we build can impact the world around us! The I/O schedule is subject to change until the event, so check back often, and keep an eye out for scheduled Meetup events taking place at the Community Lounge to help you connect and network with other developers.

Attending in person

To help make it easier to attend your favorite talks and minimize lines, confirmed attendees will be able to reserve seats for Sessions in advance of I/O - as long as they’re signed in with the same email address used to register for the 2018 event. A portion of seats will still be available first-come, first-served onsite.

To reserve a seat:

  • Navigate to google.com/io/schedule, sign in, and click on the ticket icon for each Session you want to reserve.
  • If a particular Session has already reached the reservation capacity, you'll see an hourglass icon instead. If you've joined a waitlist and a spot opens up, we'll automatically change your reservation status to reserved.
  • You can reserve as many Sessions as you'd like per day, but only one reservation/waitlist per time slot is allowed.
  • Reservations will remain open until 1 hour before the start time for each Session.
  • NOTE: Reservations are only available for Sessions, not other event types listed on the schedule.

Reserve seats via the main Schedule page…

…Or via the Session detail pages.

Anyone who's signed in can also star all event types listed on the schedule as a way to easily find them later on or on other devices.

In addition to more than 160 technical and Keynote Sessions, onsite guests will have the chance to explore various Sandbox domes, covering product areas like Android, Assistant, Design, IoT, Web, just to name a few. Sandboxes are dedicated spaces to learn and play with our latest products and platforms via interactive demos, physical installations, and more.

You can also take advantage of 100+ Office Hours and App Reviews. Office Hours gives you a chance to meet one-on-one with Google experts to ask all your technical questions, and App Reviews will give you the opportunity to receive advice and tips on your specific app-related projects.

Don't forget to save time in your schedule for Codelabs. Here, you'll have everything you need to learn about the latest and greatest Google technologies via self-paced tutorials, or bring your own machine and take your work home with you. Google staff will be on hand for helpful advice and to provide direction if you get stuck.

Joining remotely?

Don't worry - you're not alone and you won't miss a thing! We'll be livestreaming the majority of our Keynotes and Sessions from Shoreline. If you prefer to watch I/O with your developer community, find an I/O Extended viewing party near you.

We'll also let you experience I/O firsthand via our I/O Guides who will be touring the venue and giving you eyes on the ground.

I/O is only 27 days away! We'll continue to share updates in the upcoming weeks to help you get ready and make the most of this year's event. Stay tuned!

What’s new from Firebase at Google I/O 2017

Originally posted on the Firebase Blog by Francis Ma, Firebase Group Product Manager

It's been an exciting year! Last May, we expanded Firebase into our unified app platform, building on the original backend-as-a-service and adding products to help developers grow their user base, as well as test and monetize their apps. Hearing from developers like Wattpad, who built an app using Firebase in only 3 weeks, makes all the hard work worthwhile.

We're thrilled by the initial response from the community, but we believe our journey is just getting started. Let's talk about some of the enhancements coming to Firebase today.

Integrating with Fabric

In January, we announced that we were welcoming the Fabric team to Firebase. Fabric initially grabbed our attention with their array of products, including the industry-leading crash reporting tool, Crashlytics. As we got to know the team better, we were even more impressed by how closely aligned our missions are: to help developers build better apps and grow successful businesses. Over the last several months, we've been working closely with the Fabric team to bring the best of our platforms together.

We plan to make Crashlytics the primary crash reporting product in Firebase. If you don't already use a crash reporting tool, we recommend you take a look at Crashlytics and see what it can do for you. You can get started by following the Fabric documentation.

Phone authentication comes to Firebase

Phone number authentication has been the biggest request for Firebase Authentication, so we're excited to announce that we've worked with the Fabric Digits team to bring phone auth to our platform. You can now let your users sign in with their phone numbers, in addition to traditional email/password or identity providers like Google or Facebook. This gives you a comprehensive authentication solution no matter who your users are or how they like to log in.

At the same time, the Fabric team will be retiring the Digits name and SDK. If you currently use Digits, over the next couple weeks we'll be rolling out the ability to link your existing Digits account with Firebase and swap in the Firebase SDK for the Digits SDK. Go to the Digits blog to learn more.

Introducing Firebase Performance Monitoring

We recognize that poor app performance and stability are the top reasons for users to leave bad ratings on your app and possibly churn altogether. As part of our effort to help you build better apps, we're pleased to announce the beta launch of Performance Monitoring.

Firebase Performance Monitoring is a new free tool that helps you understand when your user experience is being impacted by poorly performing code or challenging network conditions. You can learn more and get started with Performance Monitoring in the Firebase documentation.

More robust analytics

Analytics has been core to the Firebase platform since we launched last I/O. We know that understanding your users is the number one way to make your app successful, so we're continuing to invest in improving our analytics product.

First off, you may notice that you're starting to see the name "Google Analytics for Firebase" around our documentation. Our analytics solution was built in conjunction with the Google Analytics team, and the reports are available both in the Firebase console and the Google Analytics interface. So, we're renaming Firebase Analytics to Google Analytics for Firebase, to reflect that your app analytics data are shared across both.

For those of you who monetize your app with AdMob, we've started sharing data between the two platforms, helping you understand the true lifetime value (LTV) of your users, from both purchases and AdMob revenue. You'll see these new insights surfaced in the updated Analytics dashboard.

Many of you have also asked for analytics insights into custom events and parameters. Starting today, you can register up to 50 custom event parameters and see their details in your Analytics reports. Learn more about custom parameter reporting.

Firebase for all - iOS, games, and open source

Firebase's mission is to help all developers build better apps. In that spirit, today we're announcing expanded platform and vertical support for Firebase.

First of all, as Swift has become the preferred language for many iOS developers, we've updated our SDK to handle Swift language nuances, making Swift development a native experience on Firebase.

We've also improved Firebase Cloud Messaging by adding support for token-based authentication for APNs, and greatly simplifying the connection and registration logic in the client SDK.

Second, we've heard from our game developer community that one of the most important stats you monitor is frames per second (FPS). So, we've built Game Loop support & FPS monitoring into Test Lab for Android, allowing you to evaluate your game's frame rate before you deploy. Coupled with the addition of Unity plugins and a C++ SDK, which we announced at GDC this year, we think that Firebase is a great option for game developers. To see an example of a game built on top of Firebase, check out our Mecha Hamster app on Github.

Finally, we've taken a big first step towards open sourcing our SDKs. We believe in open source software, not only because transparency is an important goal, but also because we know that the greatest innovation happens when we all collaborate. You can view our new repos on our open sourceproject page and learn more about our decision in this blog post.

Dynamic Hosting with Cloud Functions for Firebase

In March, we launched Cloud Functions for Firebase, which lets you run custom backend code in response to events triggered by Firebase features and HTTP requests. This lets you do things like send a notification when a user signs up or automatically create thumbnails when an image is uploaded to Cloud Storage.

Today, in an effort to better serve our web developer community, we're expanding Firebase Hosting to integrate with Cloud Functions. This means that, in addition to serving static assets for your web app, you can now serve dynamic content, generated by Cloud Functions, through Firebase Hosting. For those of you building progressive web apps, Firebase Hosting + Cloud Functions allows you to go completely server-less. You can learn more by visiting our documentation.

Firebase Alpha program and what's next

Our goal is to build the best developer experience: easy-to-use products, great documentation, and intuitive APIs. And the best resource that we have for improving Firebase is you! Your questions and feedback continuously push us to make Firebase better.

In light of that, we're excited to announce a Firebase Alpha program, where you will have the opportunity to test the cutting edge of our products. Things might not be perfect (in fact, we can almost guarantee they won't be), but by participating in the alpha community, you'll help define the future of Firebase. If you want to get involved, please register your interest in the Firebase Alpha form.

Thank you for your support, enthusiasm, and, most importantly, feedback. The Firebase community is the reason that we've been able to grow and improve our platform at such an incredible pace over the last year. We're excited to continue working with you to build simple, intuitive products for developing apps and growing mobile businesses. To get started with Firebase today, visit our newly redesigned website. We're excited to see what you build!

Get ready for Google I/O 2017

Posted by Mónica Bagagem, Product Marketing Manager
We’re excited to be hosting Google I/O 2017 next week at the Shoreline Amphitheatre! The agenda for May 17-19 is packed with rich, technical content. Here are some tips to help you make the most of it.

Attending in person?

Everyone is guaranteed a spot for the keynotes but seating will be pre-assigned on a first-come, first-served basis during badge pick-up. Your seating section will be noted on your badge. Badge pick-up starts on Tuesday, May 16th, between 7AM - 7PM PDT at the Shoreline Amphitheatre. Plan to come by early to get the best seats!
Sessions start at 2PM after the Developer Keynote ends, and are roughly 40mins in length. To help make it easier for you to attend your favorite talks and minimize lines, you can reserve seats for sessions now via our web app, Android app and iOS app using your Google I/O registration email address. Additionally, App reviews and select Sandbox demos will be reservable onsite on a first-come, first-served basis at the beginning of each day.
Beyond attending technical Sessions, you’ll have the opportunity to check out our latest product demos and speak directly with Google engineers throughout the Sandbox space; during Codelabs where you can complete self-paced tutorials; and at Office Hours where you can get specific questions answered 1:1 with Googlers.
Remember to save some energy for the evening! On Day 1, we’ll host an After Hours Block Party from 7-10PM. It will include dinner, drinks, and lots of fun, interactive experiences throughout the Sandbox space: our very own comedy club, an international food market & pizza party, several musical performances, a VR drive-in, a Museum of Developer Art, to name just a few! On Day 2, we’ll have an After Hours Concert from 8-10PM (don’t worry, we’ll feed you dinner, too!). Stay tuned - we’ll be announcing the talent closer to I/O.
Don’t forget to to check the Mountain View weather forecast for each day; we recommend bringing a jacket for the evening festivities as it can get chilly after dark. Although all Sessions and Sandboxes will take place in climate controlled structures, Shoreline Amphitheatre is an outdoor venue - so come prepared for whatever mother nature might have in store!
Finally, you can find directions, shuttle schedules, biking, parking, and carpooling info here.

Attending remotely?

Even if you’re not at Shoreline, you can still participate in I/O from afar! Here’s how:
  • I/O Extended: Find an I/O Extended event near you to watch the keynotes with your community, participate in hackathons, codelabs, and much more.
  • Livestream: Tune into the livestream throughout the 3 day festival on desktop and mobile.
  • I/O Live Widget: If you want to bring the livestream and the #io17 social conversation to your audience, you can customize and embed our I/O Live widget on your site or blog.
  • I/O Guide: Follow our Guide, Timothy Jordan, as he tours the venue and gets the inside scoop. You can find him on any of our livestream channels throughout the event, in-between sessions.
  • #io17request: Between May 17-19, send us your questions about I/O via English-language tweets that include the #io17request hashtag. A team of Googlers across Android, Chrome, Assistant, VR, Machine Learning, and more will track down answers to your burning questions.
  • I/O in photos: Be sure to follow out our real-time I/O photo album from Shoreline!

Check out our FAQ page if you need more info and join the conversation at #io17. See you veryyyyy soon!

Google I/O 2017 on your mobile devices

Posted by Mónica Bagagem, Product Marketing Manager

I/O is just a couple of weeks away… 9 days to be exact! As we get closer, we know many of you are excited to start customizing your I/O schedule so that you can make the most of the three festival days. In addition to customizing your schedule on google.com/io, you can also navigate through our 150+ technical Sessions, hundreds of Office Hours, and dozens of Codelabs via the Google I/O 2017 mobile app, available now for Android and very soon for iOS.

Available now: Android appiOS appWeb app (add to your mobile homescreen)

Here is a breakdown of all the things you can do with the mobile app this year:
SCHEDULE 
Browse, filter and find Sessions, Office Hours, Codelabs, and App Reviews across 14 tracks. All sessions will be livestreamed this year and you can access the livestream channel or the session recording after the fact in the respective session detail screen.
MY I/O
This is where you'll find all your saved #io17 events. To make things easy for you, these will always be synced from your account across mobile and desktop, so you can switch back and forth as needed. And since we know May 17-19 will be quite busy days, we'll send you reminders right before your saved sessions are about to start.

Exclusive for onsite registered attendees: To help make it easier to attend your favorite talks and minimize lines, you'll be able to reserve seats for sessions in advance of I/O via google.com/io AND our mobile app - as long as you're signed in with the same email address you used to register for the festival. You can reserve as many sessions as you'd like per day, but only one reservation per time slot is allowed.

Reservations will be open until 1H before the start time for each session. If a particular session has already reached the reservation capacity, you can join the waitlist and we'll automatically change your reservation status if any spots open up. A portion of seats will still be available first-come, first-served onsite. Reservations are open starting today via the Session detail screens on the Android app and on google.com/io/schedule. Note: Reservations will also be available on iOS once the app is launched.
FEED
Read through the latest details and announcements about I/O. You can also opt-in to receive notifications from us about the event, so you don't miss a thing!
MAP
Guide yourself throughout Shoreline using the custom conference map.
INFO
Find more information about onsite WiFi, our content formats, travel tips to get to Shoreline, and more. Under Settings, you can also set the timezone for the schedule and opt-in to receive notifications.

Keeping up with the tradition, we'll be open sourcing the app after I/O. Until then, start getting ready for I/O; we hope the mobile app will help you navigate the schedule and grounds for a great experience. See you soon!

Update: The iOS app is now available for download.

Start planning your Google I/O 2017 schedule!

Posted by Christopher Katsaros, Product Marketing Manager

Whether you're joining us in person or remotely, we're looking forward to connecting with you at Google I/O, on May 17-19. It's the best way to learn about building apps for the Google Assistant, how to go from Zero to App with Firebase, all of the goodies inside Android O, and much more!

Over 150 Technical Sessions, Livestreamed

The show kicks off at 10AM PDT on Wednesday, May 17 with the Google Keynote, an opportunity to hear about the latest product and platform innovations from Google, helping connect you to billions of users around the world. After that, we'll be diving into all of the ways developers can take advantage of this newness in a Developer Keynote at 1PM PDT. From there, the 14 tracks at Google I/O kickoff, with over 150 technical sessions livestreamed (i.e. all of them!) at google.com/io.

We've just published more talks on the I/O website, so you can start planning your custom schedule ahead of the conference (shhh! we've got a few more sessions up our sleeve, so don't forget to check back directly after the Developer Keynote).

You can also take advantage of Codelabs - self-paced tutorials on a number of technical topics to get you up and running with a Google product or feature. These Codelabs will be available both to those who are joining us in person at Shoreline, and online for those of you tuning in from around the world. More details will be available on the schedule soon.

Joining in person?

We received a lot of great feedback from attendees last year, and have been working hard since then to make sure this is the best Google I/O, yet. To help make it easier to attend your favorite talks and minimize lines, you'll be able to reserve seats across sessions before I/O starts. But don't worry, we're saving a few seats in each session that will be available on a first-come, first-served basis onsite. We've also increased the size of each of the tents this year, giving you more opportunities to see all of your favorite talks in-person.

Finally, we've doubled the number of Office Hours available, since you told us that being able to connect directly with Googlers to get your questions answered was extremely valuable. On top of that, all of the sandbox demo areas will be inside climate-controlled structures, making it easier to avoid the elements (but don't forget to bring your layers – Shoreline Amphitheatre is still an outdoor venue, after all).

See you in 3 weeks!

We're looking forward to seeing you in just a few weeks. We've got a few more updates to share before then; be sure to check out the Google I/O website for more details, or follow the conversation using the #io17 hashtag.


Education news from Google I/O: tools to take learning further



Editor's note: We’re writing to you today from Google I/O, our annual conference for developers. Over 7,000 developers gathered for the three day event at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California —right down the street from Google. If you missed the live-stream this week, don't worry; we've got four highlights so far for education below.

Even more apps for Chromebooks
Earlier today we announced that Android apps are coming to Chromebooks, which means teachers and students will have access to more content on their Chromebooks, including a large amount of offline and touch-optimized apps. From Google’s Admin console, administrators will be able to deploy Android apps such as Skype, LightSail, Open eBooks, Office & Explain Everything to students. This feature will be available to administrators during the 2016/17 school year for use on supported Chromebooks. Learn more, including when you can preview some of the apps, in the blog post.

More than one million students have gone on an Expedition
When we look back on our favorite memories from school, many of us think of field trips. Last May, we introduced the Expeditions Pioneer Program, which lets teachers take their students on virtual reality trips to over 200 places using Cardboard. This year at I/O, we announced that over one million students from more than 11 countries have taken an Expedition through the Pioneer Program, to places like Buckingham Palace, the polar bear capital of the world—and in seventh grader Lance Teeselink’s case—Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
Lance, aspiring architect, takes an Expedition to the tallest building in the world with his seventh grade class

Our team is hard at work to make Expeditions more widely available. Stay tuned to our blog for the latest information. And if you’re ready to bring your class on their first Expedition, sign up for the beta here.

Stronger integrations between Classroom and other apps
Teachers use Classroom as mission control for their classes, launching assignments & discussions across subjects and topics. We announced on Wednesday that we added new coursework integrations to the Classroom API, which lets reporting systems like gradebooks and student information systems sync assignments and grades from Classroom, so that teachers don’t need to manually transfer the data. It also allows learning tools to create assignments, turn in work, and send back grades to Classroom. See how developers like Tynker, GeoGebra, and OpenEd are already using coursework in the Classroom API to strengthen their integrations.

Expanding coding resources to younger students
On Monday, at I/O Youth (our third annual conference for Bay Area students and teachers) we announced a new collaboration with Scratch, MIT’s programming language and community for children. The new partnership will enable developers to design creative coding and learning experiences for kids. We took the first step this week, releasing an early developer preview of Scratch Blocks code. We hope that developers will use Scratch Blocks to create consistent, high-quality programming experiences for kids everywhere.

Keep exploring
Watch the live stream or recordings of this year’s events in full on the Google I/O website. And for more behind-the-scenes looks at Google, from self-driving cars to Project Loon, check out Nat & Lo’s YouTube channel.

Inspiring tomorrow’s coders at I/O Youth and beyond



Google I/O is all about bringing creative coders together to imagine what’s next. And who better to build for the future than kids, the developers of tomorrow. That’s why we launched I/O Youth - inspiring kids to imagine, invent, and explore through the power of technology.

Today, we’ll celebrate the third anniversary of I/O Youth by hosting 120 students from Bay Area schools at Google I/O. Over the course of the day, kids and their teachers will be inspired by hands-on activities like designing a custom robotic monster and 3D car, bringing them to life using the power of code, directing a digital cartoon, and creating a personalized water bottle design through Made with Code.

Over the course of the day, kids will hear from speakers who use technology to do amazing things every day - like Ryan Germick, head of the Google Doodles team, who’ll talk about the beauty of art and technology coming together; Brent Bushnell, CEO of Two Bit Circus, who’ll take them on a virtual field trip to his workshop, and Anika Cheerla, 13-year old Google Science Fair finalist who built a way to accurately diagnose Alzheimer's disease, who’ll share how she discovered her love for science. They’ll also get to hear about how technology helps to bring some of their favorite things to life from a producer of Design Squad Global by PBS Kids and WGBH, a Nickelodeon creator, and a Pokémon game designer.

We’re also excited to announce our collaboration with Scratch, enabling developers to design creative coding and learning experiences for kids. Today we take the first step in this collaboration with the release of an early developer preview of Scratch Blocks code. We hope that developers will use Scratch Blocks to create consistent, high-quality programming experiences for kids everywhere.
At I/O Youth, students will get early access to a prototype built with Scratch Blocks
I/O Youth is just one of many ways we’re focused on helping young people to imagine, invent, and explore through the power of technology. Beyond today’s event, we also have year-round programs to help inspire and train our engineers of the future, including:



Google Science Fair - an international competition inspiring teenagers from all over the globe to ask questions about their world and solve them with science. The deadline to submit projects for this year’s competition is today, so stay tuned to see who will win!






Made with Code - our initiative to inspire millions of girls to learn code, and see coding as a means to pursue their dream careers.


CS First - increasing elementary and middle school students’ access and exposure to Computer Science with a focus on girls and underrepresented minorities.




If you’re not joining us at Shoreline Amphitheater for I/O Youth today, follow along on Twitter at #io16 and #ioyouth as we share updates along the way. Here's to celebrating and inspiring our future engineers today, and every day.