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Google Firebase adds in-app messaging, JIRA integration, new reports and more

Firebase is now Google’s default platform for app developers and over the course of the last four years since it was acquired, the service has greatly expanded its feature set and integrations with our Google services. Today, it’s rolling out yet another batch of updates that bring new features, deeper integrations and a few design updates to the service.

The highlight of this release is the launch of in-app messaging, which will allow developers to send targeted and contextual messages to users as they use the app. Developers can customize the look and feel of these in-app notifications, which are rolling out today, but what’s maybe even more important is that this feature is integrated with Firebase Predictions and Google Analytics for Firebase so that developers can just react to current behavior but also Firebase’s predictions of how likely a user is to spend some additional money or stop using the app.

Developers who use Atlassian’s JIRA will also be happy to hear that Firebase is launching an integration with this tool. Firebase users can now create JIRA issues based on crash reports in Firebase. This integration will roll out in the next few weeks.

Another new integration is a deeper connection to Crashlytics, which Google acquired from Twitter in early 2017 (together with Fabric). Firebase will now let you export this data to BigQuery to analyze it — and then visualize it in Google’s Data Studio. And once it’s in BigQuery, it’s your data, so you’re not dependent on Firebase’s retention and deletion defaults.

Talking about reports, Firebase Cloud Messaging is getting a new reporting dashboard and the Firebase Console’s Project Overview page has received a full design overhaul that’ll allow you to see the health and status of your apps on a single page. The Latest Release section now also features live data. These features will start rolling out today and should become available to everybody in the next few weeks.

Firebase Hosting, the service’s web content hosting service, is also getting a small update and now allows you to host multiple websites within one project. And when you push an update, Firebase Hosting now only uploads the files that have changed between releases, which should speed up that process quite a bit.

Google’s New Cloud Storage Plans Launch in the U.S.

Google today launched its new cloud storage pricing scheme under the moniker Google One, which replaces all paid storage plans under the Google Drive brand.

The new plans include 100GB storage for $1.99 a month, 200GB for $2.99 a month, and 2TB for $9.99 a month (down from $19.99). The free 15GB for non-paying users remains. There’s also a new family option for divvying up a single storage plan amongst up to five members.



As a result of the changes, Google is removing its 1TB/$9.99 plan, but existing 1TB Drive plans will be upgraded to 2TB at no extra cost. Pricing for plans larger than 2TB will remain the same.

The new storage plans provide users with space for Google Drive, Gmail, and original quality photos and videos (including 4K) in Google Photos. The paid plans also come with live chat support, something that was previously limited to G Suite business account holders.

Apple’s iCloud monthly storage plans aren’t so different: they start with 5GB free storage for non-paying users, then offer 50GB for $0.99, 200GB for $2.99, and 2TB for $9.99.

On the face of it, Google One’s new 100GB/$1.99 plan offers something of a middle ground between iCloud’s 50GB and 200GB tiers, but that doesn’t account for the practicalities of switching ecosystems that you’d need to factor in, not to mention differing privacy policies.

As of today, the new Google One plans are available to users in the United States, with existing Drive subscribers there having already been moved to the new plans. Google is promising availability for other regions soon.

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It seems Amazon didn’t know what it had on its hands when it released the first Echo in late-2014. The AI-powered speaker formed the foundation of the next been moment in consumer electronics. Those devices have helped mainstream consumer AI and open the door to wide-scale adoption of connected home products. 

New numbers from NPD, naturally, don’t show any sign of flagging for the category. According to the firm, the devices are set for a 50-percent dollar growth from between 2016-2017 to 2018-2019. The category is projected to add $1.6 billion through next year.

The Echo line has grown rapidly over the past four years, with Amazon adding the best-selling Dot and screen enabled products like the Spot and Show. Google, meanwhile, has been breathing down the company’s neck with its own Home offerings. The company also recently added a trio of “smart displays” designed by LG, Lenovo and JBL.

A new premium category has also arisen, led by Apple’s first entry into the space, the HomePod. Google has similarly offered up the Home Max, and Samsung is set to follow suit with the upcoming Galaxy Home (which more or less looks like a HomePod on a tripod).

As all of the above players were no doubt hoping, smart speaker sales also appear to be driving sales of smart home products, with 19 percent of U.S. consumers planning to purchase one within the next year, according to the firm.

Google Assistant can play songs from Pandora Premium

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