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What is GCM & FCM Cloud based Messaging?

The benefits of Cloud-based messaging solution is that messages can be accessed “anywhere, anytime and through any device”.

There are two types of cloud messaging services

  1. GCM – Google Cloud Messaging
  2. FCM – Firebase Cloud Messaging


Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) is a free service that facilitates messaging between mobile apps and server applications. It enables developers to send messages between servers and client apps.

GCM is a service that handles the sending, routing, and queueing of messages between server applications and mobile client apps.

A client app is a GCM-enabled app that runs on a device. The app server  is the GCM-enabled server that your client app communicates with through GCM.



FCM (Firebase Cloud Messaging) is the new unified app platform introduced by Google to replace GCM (Google Cloud Messaging).

Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) is a cross-platform service that handles the sending, routing, and queueing of messages between server applications and mobile client apps. FCM is the successor to Google Cloud Messaging (GCM), and it is built on Google Play Services.

Using message targeting, FCM is able to deliver messages to applications in three ways: to single devices, to groups of devices, or to devices subscribed to topics. Developers have the option to create messages in the Notification composer, which can send targeted messages to specific segments of users. These messages are fully integrated with Firebase Analytics, which tracks user engagement and conversion.

Why we need to migrate from GCM to FCM

FCM (Firebase Cloud Messaging) is an improved version of the Google Cloud Messaging. It inherits GCM’s core infrastructure, with new SDKs to make Cloud Messaging development easier.

Following are the benefits of  FCM SDK:

  • Simpler client development
  • An out-of-the-box notification solution. One can use Firebase Notifications, a serverless notifications solution with a web console that lets anyone send notifications to target specific audiences based on Firebase Analytics insights.

Is GCM deprecated

As per Google team update, they are still continue to support the current version of GCM Android and iOS SDKs because a lot of projects use GCM technology for real time communication. It is recommended to use FCM SDK moving forward.

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