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Firebase vs Google Cloud Storage: What are the differences?

Firebase: The Realtime App Platform. Firebase is a cloud service designed to power real-time, collaborative applications. Simply add the Firebase library to your application to gain access to a shared data structure; any changes you make to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds; Google Cloud Storage: Durable and highly available object storage service. Google Cloud Storage allows world-wide storing and retrieval of any amount of data and at any time. It provides a simple programming interface which enables developers to take advantage of Google's own reliable and fast networking infrastructure to perform data operations in a secure and cost effective manner. If expansion needs arise, developers can benefit from the scalability provided by Google's infrastructure.

Firebase and Google Cloud Storage are primarily classified as "Realtime Backend / API" and "Cloud Storage" tools respectively.

Some of the features offered by Firebase are:

  • Add the Firebase library to your app and get access to a shared data structure. Any changes made to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.
  • Firebase apps can be written entirely with client-side code, update in real-time out-of-the-box, interoperate well with existing services, scale automatically, and provide strong data security.
  • Data Accessibility- Data is stored as JSON in Firebase. Every piece of data has its own URL which can be used in Firebase's client libraries and as a REST endpoint. These URLs can also be entered into a browser to view the data and watch it update in real-time.

On the other hand, Google Cloud Storage provides the following key features:

  • High Capacity and Scalability
  • Strong Data Consistency
  • Google Developers Console Projects

"Realtime backend made easy" is the primary reason why developers consider Firebase over the competitors, whereas "Scalable" was stated as the key factor in picking Google Cloud Storage.

Instacart, 9GAG, and Twitch are some of the popular companies that use Firebase, whereas Google Cloud Storage is used by Accenture, Evernote, and Teleport. Firebase has a broader approval, being mentioned in 859 company stacks & 997 developers stacks; compared to Google Cloud Storage, which is listed in 183 company stacks and 79 developer stacks.

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What is Firebase?

Firebase is a cloud service designed to power real-time, collaborative applications. Simply add the Firebase library to your application to gain access to a shared data structure; any changes you make to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.

What is Google Cloud Storage?

Google Cloud Storage allows world-wide storing and retrieval of any amount of data and at any time. It provides a simple programming interface which enables developers to take advantage of Google's own reliable and fast networking infrastructure to perform data operations in a secure and cost effective manner. If expansion needs arise, developers can benefit from the scalability provided by Google's infrastructure.
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    What are some alternatives to Firebase and Google Cloud Storage?
    Parse
    With Parse, you can add a scalable and powerful backend in minutes and launch a full-featured app in record time without ever worrying about server management. We offer push notifications, social integration, data storage, and the ability to add rich custom logic to your app’s backend with Cloud Code.
    MongoDB
    MongoDB stores data in JSON-like documents that can vary in structure, offering a dynamic, flexible schema. MongoDB was also designed for high availability and scalability, with built-in replication and auto-sharding.
    Auth0
    A set of unified APIs and tools that instantly enables Single Sign On and user management to all your applications.
    Heroku
    Heroku is a cloud application platform – a new way of building and deploying web apps. Heroku lets app developers spend 100% of their time on their application code, not managing servers, deployment, ongoing operations, or scaling.
    Realm
    The Realm Mobile Platform is a next-generation data layer for applications. Realm is reactive, concurrent, and lightweight, allowing you to work with live, native objects.
    See all alternatives
    Decisions about Firebase and Google Cloud Storage
    No stack decisions found
    Interest over time
    Reviews of Firebase and Google Cloud Storage
    Review ofFirebaseFirebase

    Firebase is great, cheap and very flexible. Their docs are very helpful and so is the customer support, but the one thing that is so awesome about firebase is that everything is done in realtime!

    Review ofFirebaseFirebase

    We were looking for a solution to find out about all the errors our customers experienced but never informed us about.

    How developers use Firebase and Google Cloud Storage
    Avatar of Instacart
    Instacart uses FirebaseFirebase

    We use it for a few things. We use it internally for a few dashboards because it’s actually really nice to have real-time dashboard data with Firebase. We also use it extensively for live order updating. For example, when a shopper is picking your items, you'll be able to go on your order screen. There will be live showing like found or not found or whatever. You'll have live position updating of your shopper on the map. You will have live information of the status of the order like “Nicole is now picking up your order,” and all these kind of things, so you don’t have to reload the page or pull or anything. Just live updates happen natively through Firebase API, which is nice.

    Avatar of Instacart
    Instacart uses FirebaseFirebase

    We use it for a few things. We use it internally for a few dashboards because it’s actually really nice to have real-time dashboard data with Firebase. We also use it extensively for live order updating. For example, when a shopper is picking your items, you'll be able to go on your order screen. There will be live showing like found or not found or whatever. You'll have live position updating of your shopper on the map. You will have live information of the status of the order like “Nicole is now picking up your order,” and all these kind of things, so you don’t have to reload the page or pull or anything. Just live updates happen natively through Firebase API, which is nice.

    Avatar of ttandon
    ttandon uses FirebaseFirebase

    Used for storing results of users (malaria predictions) and displaying to user in the app. Although the realtime aspect wasn't huge in this project, it was much quicker to push data elements for each user as firebase elements since they were purely numerical and very small. And again, the idea of familiarity - I've worked with Firebase at previous hackathons, so no need to spend time going through docs, just straight to the coding.

    Avatar of NewCraft
    NewCraft uses FirebaseFirebase

    Firebase let's us iterate quickly. We've used the Realtime Database to build rich UX features– like push notifications– fast. Likewise, Firebase Authentication and Cloud Functions save us from having to rebuild redundant server infrastructure. Even though Firebase can get pricey, we've saved money in developer time.

    Avatar of Addo
    Addo uses FirebaseFirebase

    Still in development, but we will soon (January 2016) be releasing a version that uses Firebase to keep the front end up to date in real time. Certain data are synchronised across RDS and Firebase to optimize the user experience.

    Avatar of itzMe
    itzMe uses Google Cloud StorageGoogle Cloud Storage

    Amazon / Google... Google / Amazon ... we decided to take the plunge and go for Google Cloud services as their services seem to be a bit more thought through and structured as they have not developed so organically.

    Avatar of Matt Welke
    Matt Welke uses Google Cloud StorageGoogle Cloud Storage

    When creating proofs of concept or small personal projects that are hosted primarily in GCP, this is the object storage service I usually pair them with.

    Avatar of Flutter Health Inc.
    Flutter Health Inc. uses Google Cloud StorageGoogle Cloud Storage

    We use Google Cloud Storage to store the images and other files that are added (uploaded) or generated in the Flutter application.

    Avatar of CommentBox.io
    CommentBox.io uses Google Cloud StorageGoogle Cloud Storage

    All comments, votes, and other actions live here as a highly-scalable, reliable, multi-region storage solution.

    Avatar of Cirrus Labs
    Cirrus Labs uses Google Cloud StorageGoogle Cloud Storage

    Cirrus CI can store build artifacts in Google Cloud Storage

    How much does Firebase cost?
    How much does Google Cloud Storage cost?