Firebase Google: The Latest Bastion in the Game of Development Platforms

One Ring to Find Them All, and in the Darkness, Bind Them

What is this? Risk?

Google has it’s own web app and mobile application framework and platform. But of course they do. It’s not like it unfashionable or something. Now, instead of all these Best of Breed point solutions tailored to the specific or unique workflows different developers might find more efficient, Google’s FireBase removes all that pesky choice from their development clients, creating a one stop shop for managing and analyzing anything that an end user might do, on any platform they might choose, with any combination of other likely related actions. Connect to e-mail in a specific manner. Connect to Maps and Contacts in standardized and muscle-memory friendly ways. Integrate security functions with the design architecture for each platform, and serve up dashboards and status indicators in ways that build confidence and therefore perceived ease of use. Unfortunately, when monolithic wannabe monopolies compromise on design choices for universal application, you usually get a Camel, which according to Mark Twain is actually a horse designed by a committee. We get used to the obvious irritation of poorly designed, some may reach so far as to claim malevolent design, and we just muddle along, until anything else is unimaginable, as the goal of malevolent design is to destroy imagination, curiosity, and critical thinking. Do what you are told by your betters, and you shall be minimally rewarded with the means to survive, with an extra something for the misery factor. Orwell wrote abut the beer. Huxley introduced SOMA. Burgess gave us Moloko plus, my Droogies. 

For all the hoopla of people screaming “You can’t have my data! Soylent Green is PEOPLE”, there are 20 times that number saying “Whaddya want me to do so I can believe I’m eating rare fillet and wearing fine silk, with a beautiful dalliance at my beck and call.” It’s always a call to move up the pyramid by putting those you climb over at your foundation. That foundation becomes less and less stable the higher up the pyramid one ascends.

Firebase just wants us to enjoy the steak, and stop worrying. Decide on your path, then take the knee, and all will be fine, once the reprogramming is completed.

Ecosystem Breadth

Remember when people wrote things on paper, and dutifully copied the still current records onto new paper, every year, as one of those ways of cleaning up the detritus and returning it to the common feedstock? It was so DAMNED inconvenient to those of us who simply wanted to compress all that history into something where we only replaced the changed bits. This is the logical conclusion to that urge to remove the tedium. We no longer have to remember how to do anything, because our voluntarily adopted hybrid ecosystems, based on Personal Area Networks of interconnected devices, are tethered to somebody’s mother ship, in this case, Google’s. And what Google really wants to know about it’s users is… everything. Which means collecting all the data from all the things in all the channels and frequencies, and assign these logs to queues being fed into learning machine processors, so a variety of scenarios on what might produce the correlations of all those data streams may have captured. The idea here is to capture everything and measure it, then spend some time analyzing the data in as many ways as can be imagined, pursuing behavioural cues that let the Cyberlords know what works to make us do stuff, without us ever being wise to the scam. In order to do this, we have to do the full Cambridge Analytica. This is just one flavour of that class of instrumentation platform and it’s corresponding analytical tool kit.

All in the (Alphabet) Family

Google moved from amazing (Bigger than Alta Vista! Better and faster than Lexus Nexus!) to developing it’s own emergent personality. Which frankly, seems to be ODD (the behavioural disorder, as well as being strange in ALL CAPS), for the mission statement of Don’t Do Evil has been optimized by removing the first five characters. Once you gain critical mass, you just keep attracting things to aggregate the whole thing into some find of maximal density. Usually with cataclysmic force at the most exciting part. It’s once big game of forging the one Ring, so that the ultimate darkness binds all challengers. Who shall be the Forger of the One? Google is really, really hard at work to make it them. Geoffrey, Grand Duke Bezos, First of His Name, has a really, really good lead in this game, and Google doesn’t want the world to go in that direction. Or like the other main contenders for shaping our global cultural evolution and development. Apple, Microsoft, and [Oh, Hai Mark!] Facebook, which really has shown itself to be the most alien of the CyberLords. They own video. They own ad sales. They own the analytical super-powers they built from pretty rudimentary stock into something that David Brin, in his still prescient 1989 novel, Earth, would recognize as being a take on his concept of the self-aware internet that evolved from some weird and somehow cathartically significant plot elements. Anyway, they can track our eye movements, our posture, how the keystrokes, mouse movements, track pad gestures, etc, are done and add that diversity to the cosmic whole. Assimilation is inevitable.

Microserfs 2: Zucked Right up the Dorsey

Well boys, its been an interesting decade and more. I loved Twitter when it first came out, an can barely remember any kind of hassle. You guys built social. I was on ICQ, and Skype, and whatever else I had used that wasn’t EVERYBODY, on ANY platform. Sure, SMS text had been there for a lot longer. Emoticon culture came out of that. But it wasn’t Facebook. Slaying Friendster, MySpace, et al. Epic slaughter of all competitors. Coopting the dashboard marketplace (yay, TweetDeck & Hootsuite!) was pure genius. Evil, evil genius.

Apple WHO?

I’ve been a Mac user since the very early days, so it’s weird that I can’t watch the Firebase marketing videos while accessing them on Safari. C’mon, guys, can’t we all just get along? Your fucking dinosaur thrashing over time {FRENEMY MASSIVE BATTLE!!!} is really harshing the buzz of those of us who just want proper separation of platform from content. Standards, man. There are so many to choose from. All with horrible caveats that you can’t back away from, once you’ve jumped that proverbial shark. And, oh, damn Google. I really want to know who your creative team is, and spend some time as a fly on the wall to find out what went into these scripts and the production design assumptions that are trying to shape my value structures. AND FFS, do you have to cast potential Incels for the spokes critters? Yeah sure we want to be inclusive, but I can’t believe the evil empire that Eric Schmidt spawned had that as the primary motivation. Pretty sure that was one of the cover stories to justify the TRUE evil behind it. Welcome to the wonderful world of the fully measured life, even if you don’t want to be on that planet. Resistance is futile. Your genetic and technological diversity will be assimilated. Too bad that said assimilation turns the lived experience into a pastiche of that 80s beige, algorithmically reallocated to deliver whatever the top of the pyramid thinks is amusing for today. And sometimes for the next half hour.

Quantified Self (mandatory)

We all wear smart watches now. Except those of us who profess to be in the higher echelons, where mechanical chronometers valued at significant percentages of the working class annual income are preferred, for the status of demonstrating being out of the network of common analytics and response patterns. Above the law, with real time machine learning based on every single detectable thing we allow to happen on us, around us, and even inside us. When the obvious successor to Google Glass finally emerges, likely some hybrid output concept that allows remote sensing from a variety of channels and methodologies get applied to everything we encounter. What did our pulse rate just do, when that person wriggled their hips? What happened to the relationship between earbuds, watch, phone, glasses, insulin pump, pace-maker, hearing aids, and eventually, AssPod™®, the insertable base station. Collect all these inputs for every single one of the hoi polloi, push it into data centres, then have armies of Aspergarian sherlocks seeking patterns, testing them in ways that probably won’t pass any reputable university’s ethics committee, and then combining the results into tropes of self-assembly techno-authoritarianism, which was old to everyone because everyone else has already agreed to do it, and so we’re the ones who will miss out. I saw the best minds of my generation use their talents to get people to click like buttons on command.

Parts is parts

The problem with complex systems is that the parts inside of the complex system rarely know that they are a part. It’s only with time and understanding, careful, non-destructive observation and as Schrodingeresque an eye on the mutability of everything through that observation. So, what it really comes down to it, the platforms that win only win because their opponents gave up and joined the winning camp. The battle is lost. The future considered in works such as Dune, and also Cloud Atlas, The Hunger Games, somehow never succumb to “Resistance is Futile”—taste is taste. The execution of the reality based on that taste is the only game in town.

The Ends Always are Justified

So great, Google took all their parts they bought, built, or borrowed, and stitched them all together to give you all the feedback and all the insights into this big huge bowl of quantum slush we all build with every glance and recycle with every blink into some semblance of a model of our shared belief of reality. Good luck with that. Meanwhile, if it keeps the cogs happily churning for the good of the machine, and it’s done with some elegance to how the overall trend of the horticulture is progressing, we’ll be happy. Just as happy as clams.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

Because this is meant to be a blog post to demonstrate how insanely brilliant we are with ALL THE PLATFORMS, here’s the stuff that maybe helps with the SEO. Frankly, it will all change again in an indeterminate amount of time ranging from minutes to months, who gives a flying monkeys. Pick which celestial Cyberlord to pledge your allegiance to. I have sworn an oath to The Grand Duke Steven of Jobs. Your ways may be arcane, but once you get used to them, I will beat you in mortal combat. The full-meal deal, not just your library usage, or mathematical prowess which proves meaningless if you can only share the elegance delivered to three other basement-dwelling nerds who don’t test their hypotheses with real world audiences, who NEVER have to deal with the incomprehensible rage at what is become a notable su-Reddit called Asshole Design, where things are created ON PURPOSE to frustrate an irritate the general public, for the amusement and profit of a certain collection of whirring wrist-pieces, to whom the same rules do not apply.

[Insert keyword optimized results desired here, and let the fucking algorithm decide if it’s worth floating. I am tired of fucking guessing, and seeking out weirder and weirder oracles who profess to interpret the whims of our Cyberlords, so we may caper in jest at their current topics of amusement.]

Fresh Starts & Reboots. Continuous.

We all need fresh starts; to rethink our why, and reboot our endeavours. This is a never-ending process. New lines of business, new tools, new alliances and relationships. I want to work with great people, forming and shaping great ideas, that then go out there and excite people, in ways that promote our growth as a species, as ethical stewards of this large round spaceship we occupy. We can do better than we have, and we had better learn to do it quick.