Firebase Cloud Messaging(FCM), was formerly known as Google Cloud Messaging(GCM). 

FCM is a cloud platform that provides messages and push notifications for operating systems- ios and Android, and websites as well.

Google Cloud Messaging is a messaging service that enables the message transfer from server to clients apps. 

The replacement of GCM with Firebase offers many improvements. 

The difference between FCM and GCM (Key benefits):

  • Easier client development

FCM does not require you to write your own subscription retry logic or registration. 

  • Seamless integration

    You can set up a serverless notification solution with a Firebase notification console. Firebase console allows you to send notifications to specific audience segments through Firebase analytics integration. 

You can leverage benefits from Google Analytics, consider Firebase A/B testing, and many other functionalities. 

  • Higher delivery rates

    The delivery rates are reliable as compare to Google Cloud Messaging and support more effective reporting.

  • All new SDK code

    The new SDK code from FCM solves various issues that GCM did not provide.
    For example, for Firebase SDK for ios and Android, you don’t need to deal with registration logic, errors from servers, and more.

    With the new SDK code, you can boost your reach by building an app and its features through the same SDK.

Some of the other important updates after switching to FCM over GCM are:

  • No resubscription is required

    The subscriptions on your existing Google Cloud Messaging will automatically be sent to the FCM token. And, there is no need to subscribe again.

  • Continuation of GCM tokens

As a user, if you use any GCM supported product, your GCM token will continue to work. However, your provider needs to switch to FCM for better functionality and analytics. 

You would not need to worry about GCM tokens as they will automatically be shifted to the Firebase cloud system.

If you are migrating from Google Cloud Messaging(GCM) to Firebase Cloud Messaging, then follow the integration guide here. 

New features enhancements to FCM 

  • FCM libraries update

The new library update saves you from taking permissions, by using manifest merging.
It auto-updates any permission that is required. Therefore, saving your extra efforts.

  • Firebase Remote Configuration

    By using the Firebase Remote Config feature, you can quicken the deployment of changes on your App through the key-value store

    You can use audience builder from FCM. This will allow you to create a custom audience and run A/B tests on your audience sets.

  • Supports Cross-platform

    The new FCM SDK code saves your infrastructure from any further modifications. This is the result of APIs present in a single SDK for ios, Android, web, C++.

  • Web Push functionality

    FCM also supports the implementation of IETF Web Push APIs where you can target specific browsers.

    For example, you can choose to show messages on Windows or Linux, and exclude Mac per se. Or, you can even include a message to show up on chrome on Android.

    Conclusion

    You can create your push notification using Google’s services. Understand the difference between FCM and GCM to work on a much efficient cloud messaging platform.
    However, setting up web push notifications is a time taking process. Therefore, there is Push notification software that exists to help you do the same, but with more customizations.
    You can use Truepush for free to send web push notifications on both mobile and web without taking a lot of time.