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Firebase Dynamic Links vs. Branch Links: A Comparison

By May 19, 2016 4 Comments

At Branch, we eat, sleep, and breathe mobile linking. We have been doing this for the last few years, and as app developers ourselves, we’ve been in your shoes and know how critical it is that the platform support your every feature. Branch links were a result of us trying to market and promote our own app, and we designed it to solve our needs. It shows in our features and capabilities.

We’re sure you’ve noticed that in Google I/O 16, a team of folks unveiled the new Firebase mobile app development platform with a new feature called ‘Dynamic Links’. We are very excited to see Google is thinking about mobile linking, as we’ve been starting to feel pretty lonely in the deep linking space. We were even hoping that they might have come up with some new features that we hadn’t thought of. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

In case anyone else was looking to do a comparison of the feature set between Branch and Firebase Dynamic Links, we’ve prepared a helpful table. Enjoy!

Google Firebase Dynamic Links vs. Branch Deep Links 

  Branch Links Firebase Links
No cost to use YES YES
String-built, long links via query parameters YES YES
Google App Indexing support YES YES
A single SDK for all services YES NO
Rich attribution analytics YES NO
Web to app tools YES NO
Integrations with marketing channels/platforms YES NO
Support for over 6000 deep linking edge cases YES NO
Support for cross platform development tools YES NO
Industry-leading, SLA-backed technical support YES NO

 

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  • Anton Matosov

    The comparison table talks about 6000 deep linking edge cases. Please provide references to documentation that explains these cases.

    • Alex Austin

      Hi @antonmatosov:disqus – Thanks so much for your comment. You can see a summary of the most common edge cases here and how Branch handles them: https://dev.branch.io/getting-started/link-behavior/guide. The 6000 is a combinatorial calculation where we’ve multiplied variables such as OS (iOS, Android, FireOS, etc), OS version (Android 4.X vs 5.X, etc), browser type (In app browsers, Safari, Chrome, Gmail, etc), browser version (Some browsers on Android still use Webkit engine, while others use Chrome engine). Then you need to factor in all the different types of interactions: is this that redirects through a browser to the app, is the link inside an iframe, is the link posted on a website, a link pasted in the Facebook/Instagram ad builder, etc. Then you factor in all of the configuration options such as the choice of falling back to a website or an app store when the app is not installed and many more. This gives you a number in the 6000 range. Happy linking!

  • Cédric Soubrié

    Hello,

    In those 6000 edges cases, what are those that are not supported by Firebase ?

    • Alex Bauer

      Hi Cédric,

      Without running a full set of regression tests against Dynamic Links (which only Google could do!) it’s impossible to give a detailed list. A few of the big ones are links on the Facebook news feed in iOS, Facebook install ads (of all kinds), and — believe it or not — some of Google’s own AdWords campaign types.