Google acquires Fabric, Twitter’s mobile app developer platform


Twitter Inc. announced today that it has sold its mobile app developer platform, Fabric, for an undisclosed amount to Google Inc.

Revealed in 2014 amid a fair amount of fanfare, Fabric combines several developer tools under one umbrella, including Twitter’s own Twitter Kit, crash reporting software Crashlytics, messaging authentication tool Digits and others. Publisher monetization tool MoPub, which has also been included in Fabric, does not appear to be part of the deal.

The entire Fabric team will be joining Google’s Developer Product Group and will work closely with the team behind Firebase, Google’s own backend-as-a-service, which it acquired in 2014. Firebase began as a platform aimed at helping developers build apps that support data storage and real-time data syncing, but Google has been slowly expanding the service into a full-fledged developer platform.

Fabric and Firebase

With the Fabric acquisition, Firebase has suddenly gained a wealth of new tools, and Google says that Crashlytics will be Firebase’s new default crash reporting service. Google is also folding Digits into Firebase, but the company noted that Twitter will continue to maintain the service until the acquisition is officially complete. For the most part, Fabric’s tools will not see any major changes in the move to Google, but the Fabric team noted that the platform’s terms of use will be slightly different after the acquisition goes through.

In a blog post, Firebase Product Manager Francis Ma said that the Fabric acquisition is part of Google’s commitment to improve Firebase and invest in its future.

“The integration of Fabric is part of our larger, long-term effort of delivering a comprehensive suite of features for iOS, Android and mobile Web app development,” Ma said. “This is a great moment for the industry and a unique opportunity to bring the best of Firebase with the best of Fabric. We’re committed to making mobile app development seamless, so that developers can focus more of their time on building creative experiences.”

Ma said that Google will share more details on how exactly Fabric’s tools will be incorporated into Firebase in the coming weeks.

Twitter keeps shrinking

The sale of Fabric is yet another example of Twitter shedding services that do not make any money for the beleaguered social network, which has tried and failed to find a buyer over the last year. Unlike when Twitter axed Vine last year, however, Fabric will continue to live on, ensuring that the company will not make any enemies by leaving developers out in the cold.

“While we have found a new home for Fabric, developers remain important to Twitter,” Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said in a statement. “We are committed to continuing to invest in our public APIs, our Publisher Platform products including Twitter Kit and TweetDeck, our Ads API, MoPub, and Gnip.”

MoPub is one of the few Fabric services not included in the deal with Google, which suggests that either it is still providing value for Twitter or the company thinks it can get a better deal for it elsewhere.

Image courtesy of Twitter