What is Google Firebase and how is it different than Google Firestore?

I’ve heard the terms Google Firebase and Google Firestore so often, I sometimes get them confused. Here’s a quick breakdown of their differences.

Firebase

Firebase is a comprehensive platform by Google that helps developers build web and mobile apps with features including authentication, analytics, database services, file storage, messaging, and hosting among many others.

The digital product studio I work for uses Firebase products pretty frequently because under a tight deadline to build full stack, scalable applications, it handles a number of concerns and features for us seamlessly. We don’t need to spend the time building out and maintaining your own backend servers, putting in load balancers or worrying about the number of users we’re expected to have. It even has secure authentication that’s easy to use and compatible with third party social media platforms.

Firebase offers two different types of databases services: The Real-Time database which was their original product, and Firestore, which is basically the newer, more polished version. If you’re unsure of which database to use, they have pretty good documentation detailing the proper use-cases for each.

Firestore

Firestore, like mentioned earlier, is a document-based NoSQL scalable database. It is part of the Google Firebase Platform and has SDK’s in a multitude of tech stacks including Javascript, Unity, Java, Go, and C++. As quoted in the documentation, Firestore “ keeps your data in sync across client apps through realtime listeners and offers offline support for mobile and web so you can build responsive apps that work regardless of network latency or Internet connectivity”. For any company looking to build out web or mobile applications in a short period of time, a service like Firestore that handles the backend so seamlessly is perfect.

The Google Firestore database is part of the “serverless” trend where other companies like Google handle your server needs for you. So instead of choosing your own hardware for backend servers, installing operating systems and software, and continuing to maintain those servers, serverless computing removes those responsibilities and offers a cloud computing execution model where the cloud provider manages machine resources on hand, reducing your operational and maintenance costs.

So in conclusion, Google Firebase is a comprehensive platform that helps developers build out applications with various tools (including Firestore database) and micro-services that allow them to focus more on their business logic and less on project setup.