Mobile and web developers have a new database available to them that’s designed to offer high performance plus offline access. It’s called Google Cloud Firestore, and it offers a fully managed system so that developers don’t have to worry about managing the system underlying their apps.
Cloud Firestore comes with software development kits for iOS, Android, and web apps. It offers support for running databases in an offline mode, so users can still access application data without being connected to the internet. That way, users can do things like write and read to-dos in a mobile app while on an airplane, then sync to the cloud when a network connection is available.
The service should be a boon to developers who want to focus on building their applications rather than managing the nuts and bolts of the database system that allows their users to store and access data. Data will sync in real time, and the service will automatically replicate information across regions for increased redundancy and lower latency for end users.
Cloud Firestore originated with Firebase, the division of Google Cloud that develops services for app makers. It became a part of the tech giant through an acquisition in 2014. As an independent company, Firebase’s marquee product was its Realtime Database, a managed service that provided similar functionality.
This new service is supposed to build on what developers loved about Realtime Database, such as offline access, as well as provide them with additional scalability, structure, and other features.
Google will be continuing development on both products going forward, and doesn’t expect existing Realtime Database customers to migrate. Plus, Cloud Firestore is currently in public beta, so customers who want additional guarantees of reliability will want to stick with the existing product for the moment. (Google has been testing the new service in alpha for the past year, but won’t offer any information about when it expects to make the service generally available.)
Cloud Firestore’s performance and feature benefits will come at additional cost to users, as well. Customers of the new database service will pay for it based on document reads, writes, deletes, per-month storage, and network egress. By contrast, Realtime Database customers are billed solely on storage and network egress.