But uptake has slowed.
Google embraces iOS to please developers
Google is getting serious about its mobile backend service, adding support for iOS to the mix.
The search giant released the same service for Android back in June. It offers the basics of a backend-as-a-service (BaaS) provider, including push notifications and user authentication. BaaS providers offer mobile developers services that cover common, commodity functions so that developers don’t have to wrestle with them or recreate them for each app they build.
It made sense for Google to offer this kind of service for Android developers. Making it easier for developers to build Android apps ultimately drives more users to Android and thus benefits Google.
Also, the Backend Starter services runs on the Google App Engine platform service, driving developers to use that platform instead of a competing cloud service.
Google could have just stuck with offering the backend services for Android. But there’s good reason for it to add support for iOS. Most developers create apps at the very least for both iOS and Android. Making it easier for them to run both apps on Google services makes developers more likely to choose Google rather than a competitor.
Speaking of competitors, there are plenty in the space. The BaaS market blossomed over the past year but that caught the notice of the big cloud providers. Now Microsoft and to a lesser extent Amazon Web Services also offer backend services, in competition with the startups.
That angered at least one BaaS provider enough to pull its offering from Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
Google has seemed to be treading lightly in this space. For instance, it brought BaaS provider Kinvey into its Cloud Platform partner program.
But now Google’s Backend Starter services, particularly with the new support for iOS, puts Google more directly in competition with such providers. There’s not much the independent providers can do but try to offer more and better services. So far, most of them do offer more than Google does with its Backend Starter services.
The startup competitors might have hoped for a buyout from the search giant. After all, Facebook legitimized the BaaS market by buying Parse. But that seems increasingly unlikely, since it's already started down the road of developing the services.
Google's plan to bring Chrome packaged apps to Android and iOS is part of its strategy to make the web the primary platform for users. Converting Apple device owners will be a challenge.
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