What does Firebase has to do with WebRTC anyway?
3 days ago the news broke in many of the technology sites: Google acquired Firebase:
For Google, this acquisition mostly seems to be about technology and talent, but it will also introduce Firebase’s 100,000 developers to its Cloud Platform.
While no word about WebRTC has been written with regards to Firebase, I do like to give my 2 cents here. I might be off by a mile (and probably am), but it is something to think about.
1. Firebase is about WebRTC signaling
WebRTC has no signaling. You either go build it yourself, use a ready-made framework for it, or consume it in SaaS.
The first SaaS platform to offer “WebRTC siganling” was PubNub. They go to the US based WebRTC events to show their capabilities, and they even provided a WebRTC chat service reference on Github that uses their platform.
There’s more about these 3 vendors in a post I’ve written in the past on SaaS WebRTC signaling.
I my own chats with vendors, Firebase were raised more than once as the signaling platform of choice – either for WebRTC signaling, or for the rest of the messaging capabilities that are required in the platform.
Firebase = Real time messaging = WebRTC signaling
2. The need for a WebRTC backend
When I attended the WebRTC Summit in London earlier this year (my summery is here), Serge Lachapelle, who is the Product Manager for WebRTC at Google, said something interesting on stage. He said he is still waiting to see someone taking care of the backend and doing it properly in a way that enables developers to move faster.
Google had no offering in the backend tooling of WebRTC in any way. They offered the open source WebRTC client on one end and at the other end, they offered the full fledged service that is Google Hangouts. But nothing in-between. No building blocks for developers in the backend.
But now that they have Firebase, which is used by developers… they got a WebRTC signaling SaaS solution for the rest of us.
Firebase = WebRTC signaling SaaS @Google
Why is this important?
This has nothing to do with WebRTC directly, and everything to do with WebRTC indirectly.
Firebase, Pusher and PubNub were all competing with each other on developers. Firebase is now a part of a larger outfit with a lot more resources. I am sure that the management of PubNub and Pusher are trying to come up with strategies and reasons why being a part of Google means slower innovation at Firebase; maybe even suggest that Firebase going to Google means the end of privacy for Firebase’ customers. Not sure how use will that be.
Google just upped its game in WebRTC and doing that without knowing that they did.
SaaS WebRTC signaling looks a lot more attractive now that it comes from
Firebase Google than it ever did before.
I wonder if the WebRTC team in Google will now switch their apprtc demo to use Firebase signaling. Hmm…