Firebase is Google’s web and mobile app development platform offering services like hosting, syncing, push notifications, and crash reporting. To demo its capabilities, the company recently created a sample app that is essentially a fully functioning copy of Instagram.

“Friendly Pix is a cross-platform Firebase example app,” according to the GitHub page that details the under-the-hood development of the service. Meanwhile, a disclaimer on the web app reiterates this and provides a data warning:

This is a sample application aimed at showcasing the Firebase platform capabilities. Avoid posting personal or private data.

This is clearly not intended for consumer use, but as a “sample application” it is fully functioning. It supports signing up with Google or Facebook to create a profile and upload photos. There is a “Home” tab where images from profiles you follow appear, while another “Feed” displays content from all users. You can also like and comment on posts, as well as report content.

Despite its intended test nature, it seems that a handful of regular users from around the world have found the app and appear to be using it. They likely stumbled upon the iOS app that was uploaded to the App Store last week. There is no Android counterpart on the Play Store, but the web app is full featured and works well on mobile.

Again, this is clearly not intended for actual use as a social network, with Google having an entirely different initiative that creates experimental social apps, but Friendly Pix is amusing nonetheless for being refreshingly simple (and chronological).

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: