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Google launches Firebase Genkit, a new open source framework for building AI-powered apps

At the Google I/O developer conference on Tuesday, Google announced an addition to its Firebase platform that aims to make it easier for developers to build AI-driven apps in JavaScript/TypeScript, with Go support coming soon available.

Firebase Genkit is an open source framework, using the Apache 2.0 license, that allows developers to quickly integrate AI into new and existing applications.

Some of the Genkit use cases the company is highlighting on Tuesday include many standard generative AI use cases: content generation and summarization, text translation, and image generation.

“Powerful extensive language models put the capabilities of AI-driven applications within reach, but it is difficult to create and refine these features beyond a prototype,” wrote Chris Gill, chief product manager at Google, and Peter Friese, developer advocate, in Tuesday’s announcement. “Many of us are still looking to deploy these features into production at scale and understand their performance so we can iterate and improve them quickly. Add to that the need to balance security and stability throughout the process and the problem becomes even more difficult. Let’s be real, everyone needs help.

The Firebase team promises that developers will be able to jump right into using Genkit as it uses the same approaches as the rest of the Firebase toolchain. Using Genkit, they will be able to test their new features locally and then deploy their application using Google’s serverless platforms like Cloud Functions for Firebase and Google Cloud Run.

Because it is open source, developers will be able to extend Genkit as needed, but it already supports a number of third-party open source projects. This means that in addition to Google’s Gemini templates, for example, developers can use templates opened via Ollama. Genkit will also support vector databases such as Chrome, Pinecone, and PostgreSQL’s pgvector, in addition to Google Cloud Firestore.

“Genkit is also designed to be open to all models, vector stores, integrators, evaluators, and other components through its plugin system,” the team writes.

Google also notes that Project IDX, Google’s next-generation web-based integrated development environment, now generally available, will support Genkit’s developer UI out of the box.

In addition to Genkit, the Firebase team today also announced support for SQL databases, powered by Firebase Data Connect, a new service powered by Google’s Postgres Cloud SQL Database.

Also new is Firebase App Hosting, which Google describes as “the next generation of serverless web hosting with Google, designed specifically for server-rendered web applications.” Firebase App Hosting is a serverless web hosting solution that will handle everything from app creation to CDN for content distribution and server-side rendering for developers.

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