Firebase, Google’s cloud-based app development suite, is celebrating its annual Firebase Summit developer event in Prague by announcing of a slew of new features coming to the platform, including facial detection improvements and new premium support.

Since its acquisition by Google in 2014, Firebase has grown to be Google’s hub for “serverless” app development, even becoming one of the only ways to send push notifications on Android. The service is popular enough to justify an annual, all-day Summit event. This year’s event, hosted in Prague, has promised to be full of exciting announcements for Firebase.

The most exciting new prospect is that of premium customer support. Firebase currently offers free support for its customers, which is not affected by today’s announcement. Customers with a Google Cloud Technical Support plan will soon have access to new, premium support via the Google Cloud Support Center, with phone support coming later on. This seems to be part of a bigger push inside Google to offer improved customer support, for a price.

On the actual app development side of things, Google’s ML Kit, originally announced this year at I/O, will soon have better facial detection support via a new feature called Face Contours. Entering Beta soon, Face Contours will be able to identify over 100 facial landmarks, and seems perfect for apps that offer AR ‘masks’ like those offered by Snapchat.

For backend and infrastructure developers, Firebase is offering a new management API, allowing you to create, delete, and manage Firebase projects programmatically. Using this new API, Google has partnered with website creation tool Glitch and online code editor StackBlitz to implement new “Deploy to Firebase” capabilities for both sites.

Additionally, two Firebase services are moving from Beta testing to General Availability — Test Lab for iOS and Firebase Predictions. Firebase Predictions, a machine-learning based user behavior prediction tool, is also gaining new features like BigQuery integration, tutorials, and more detailed information about each model.

The 2018 Firebase Summit Keynote is set to begin at 2AM PDT (or 10AM in Prague), and the entire event will be streaming live on YouTube.

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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