During the Google I/O 2021 developer keynote, Firebase — Google’s suite of development tools that make it all too easy to integrate apps with the cloud — shared a variety of announcements, including a new App Check security system, a revamp of the Remote Config tool, and more.

The biggest announcement from Firebase is actually one of security. With the new Firebase App Check, apps for the web, Android, and iOS can be made to verify themselves before interacting with your cloud services. For example, on Android this includes using SafetyNet to check whether the app’s signature is valid and/or whether or not the device is rooted.

Elsewhere on the Android front, Firebase App Distribution — a tool for managing an app’s pre-release testing periods and files — is gaining support for the Play Store’s Android App Bundles (AAB). Besides AAB being the future of Android app installation, this change will help developers test the actual dynamic AAB files of their next release instead of an older style APK file, meaning a more authentic test.

Given Google’s tendency to gradually test new features, upgrades, and changes with A/B tests, it’s no surprise that Firebase also allows developers to do so — or tailor an app’s experience to certain audiences — with Remote Config. Today, Google showed off a variety of revamps for Remote Config offering new looks for the main console, publishing flow, and A/B test results pages. Remote Config is also alpha testing a new feature called “Personalization” that uses machine learning to pick the best configurations for each of your end users.

Digging deeper into today’s Firebase announcements, Google also shared new Extensions, some improvements to Crashlytics especially for game developers, a real-time view for Performance Monitoring, and more.

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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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