Google's Firebase Team Picks Up Twitter's Fabric

Google and Twitter today announced that Google has agreed to acquire the majority of Twitter's developer suite, including Fabric and Crashlytics. The goal, say the companies, is to ensure developers have access to the best possible tools for creating apps. Google says developers should keep their ear to the ground about potential changes.

Twitter first launched Fabric in 2014, or about a year after it acquired Crashlytics. Fabric also includes Fastlane and Answers. Together, these tools give developers valuable insight concerning the performance of their apps. By managing some of the debugging process through Fabric, developers are free to spend more time doing what matters: innovating with their apps.

Fabric has grown tremendously the last few years. It's fingers touch some 2.5 billion devices around the world and are relied upon by more than 580,000 developers.

"Our goal was to provide the best tools to help developers create amazing apps," explained Rich Paret, VP of Engineering & GM of Fabric, in a blog post. "Since then, Fabric has evolved from a suite of tools for mobile developers to a powerful platform that helps entire teams build better apps, understand their users, and grow their business."

This is what got Google's attention. Google's Developer Products Group plans to absorb Fabric's entire operation, which will be added to the Firebase team. Firebase and Fabric share the same goal.

Google said Crashlytics will become its main crash report offering for Firebase moving forward. The future for Answers and Fastlane isn't as clear.

"We'll share further details in the coming weeks after we close the deal, as we work closely together with the Fabric team to determine the most efficient ways to further combine our strengths," said Francis Ma, Firebase Product Manager, in a blog post.

Developers don't need to worry (yet) about the Fabric SDK/API. "We have not made any decisions around making changes to any SDKs/APIs," said a Google spokesperson to ProgrammableWeb via email. In other words, everyone should just keep doing what they're doing. If Google decides to make changes to the core SDK/API, they're remaining mum for the moment.

Ma did say that integrating Fabric into Firebase is part of Google's long-term effort to deliver a comprehensive suite of features for iOS, Android and mobile Web app development.

Financial details of the transaction have not been made public, but the move follows some turbulence within Twitter's developer organization last year. For example, in September Twitter canned its annual developer conference. Then, in October, Twitter announced a round of layoffs, at least some of which impacted its developer team. Offloading Fabric could be a sign that Twitter is more interested in focusing on its core product, rather than offer a suite of ancillary products. Google has offered the bulk of Fabric engineers within the Firebase team.

For its part, Twitter said it is still committed to developers. "Developers remain a strategic priority for Twitter and we are working to tighten our focus to best serve this customer set while investing in tools and services that are directly linked to our core business," said a Twitter spokesperson to ProgrammableWeb via email. For example, Twitter will continue to operate MoPub. Moreover, it will invest in its public API, Ads API, Publisher Platform, and Gnip.

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.
 

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