TelemetryDeck vs. Google Firebase Analytics

Google Firebase Analytics is Google's way of integrating its analytics into mobile app development. It is a free app measurement solution to monitor your app's statistics, insights, performance, and more. TelemetryDeck believes you can use all of these features without heavily tracking your users. That is why we created TelemetryDeck as an alternative to Google Firebase Analytics with anonymized analytics data in mind.

The TelemetryDeck mascot ‘Sondrine’ on the left side, versus fire on a black background for Google Firebase on the right side

User privacy and analytics data

Nothing is more critical than understanding user behavior when working with analytics data. The better you know the users of your app, the better your app optimization and marketing gets.
While Google Firebase Analytics does an excellent job categorizing analytics data, it comes with a cost: user privacy. Not only does Google have information and data about your app users, but you are also in charge of a ton of unnecessary additional data, which has to comply with modern, international user privacy laws.

A time-consuming necessity that you will not have to spend as much time on when choosing TelemetryDeck now.
We at TelemetryDeck honestly believe that analytics can be privacy-friendly, and they always should be! Analytics should also be easy to work with. We achieve this by giving you an elegant overview of the most critical insights. That way, you can focus on your growth and less on reading instructions and guides.

A screenshot of TelemetryDeck's start page

GDPR compliance from the beginning

For a few years now, legislators in different countries have been implementing laws to protect the Personally Identifiable Data (PII) of users and consumers. Whenever your app handles personal data, you must align that with various privacy laws. This can be challenging given the fact how many different laws there are:

  • the EU-based General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) with its Data Processing Agreement (DPA)
  • the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which applies to the United States
  • and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) for the United Kingdom

These have slight differences in how they apply to user data, where they lay in terms of the country the processing of data is done in, and how to inform consumers about the processing of their data.

With TelemetryDeck, you will have a much easier time handling laws that apply to your app - TelemetryDeck does not save or process personal data. The user data is anonymized, and it is mathematically impossible to identify single users. We are an alternative for everyone who feels uncomfortable sending data to Google or Facebook.

Google Firebase Analytics: is it GDPR-compliant?

But is Google Firebase Analytics at all compliant with GDPR? Yes, but also no.
Data from users and consumers living in the European Union (EU) cannot be transferred to the U.S., thus in the EU it is only legal if you can ensure that Google stores the data within EU jurisdiction.

Google Analytics also collects astonishing amounts of user data if you let them. And even if you do not choose to track all data using Google Analytics, you are still required to tell your users that Google Analytics is being used. There is also that slightly bitter taste of "Where do my user's data go to?" since Google Analytics has much power over user data.
And with use of Google Firebase Analytics, there might be legal responsibilities, too. We can see this in a required list of all data that is being collected, or by providing a way for users to delete their personal data.

App analytics made simple

With TelemetryDeck, you can focus more on developing your app and expanding your business, growing your following, or whatever your goal. We aspire to give you an easy way of analyzing your analytics data. We are perfectly aligned to the needs of apps and app developers, and therefore we can give you the perfect insights at a glance. This includes, but isn't limited to:

  • how we decide to present information to you, as well as
  • providing templates for an effortless setup

Working with others in your organization is also pretty simple! You can always grant access to members of your organization so that collaborating and independent working is more accessible.

Improving the user experience of your app users

The first thing users have to do when they open an app for the first time is consenting to analytics. Users not only dislike having to click through cookie-consent banners, they also get skeptical the more complicated and extensive the cookie banners are.
With Google Analytics for Firebase, there is practically no way around being compliant with worldwide privacy regulations.

However, with TelemetryDeck, this can be solved way more elegant and in a way that your users feel comfortable using your app. For instance, there is no need to display consent information for the Data Processing Agreement (DPA).

Make your app faster and lightweight

The TelemetryDeck SDK is small and lightweight, which makes it the perfect analytics tool.
Instead of adding several Megabytes of additional software to your app, with TelemetryDeck SDK, you only add a few Kilobytes, making it a tiny package inside your app, which will do big analytics with a small impact!

This is not the case with Google Analytics for Firebase. Adding the Firebase SDK adds not only the Firebase environment but also all the analytics features, making it bulky and multiple megabytes. This unnecessarily bloats up your app and, as it grows too, slows it down over time.


Talking about data ownership

The way TelemetryDeck works makes it easy for app developers to decide what data should be analyzed in the first place.
TelemetryDeck creates signals directly on the user's device. The app provider can specify which activities within the app generate a signal. For example: logins, app start-ups, certain clicks, and in-app purchases.

Each of those signals is provided with an identifier that is a unique per user, but cannot be traced back to the natural person behind it.
We achieve this by not only hashing the identifier, but also applying a unique salt to it. This double-hashing procedure ensures that neither you nor TelemetryDeck can reverse-engineer the original user identifier you used as an input, thus making your users unidentifiable!

Anonymization vs. pseudonymization

Your app user's data should be anonymized. Personal information like names, addresses, and various IDs such as bank details, credit card numbers, and social security numbers are expected to be anonymized so that you or anyone else cannot link them.

Recital 26 of the GDPR defines anonymous information, as "...information which does not relate to an identified or identifiable natural person or to personal data rendered anonymous in such a manner that the data subject is not or no longer identifiable".
The GDPR does not apply to anonymized information.

With anonymization and pseudonymization you take a piece of data and transform it so that it is no longer directly recognizable as connected to a specific person. The difference is this: if you could conceivably recreate the original data somehow, for example by combining the transformed data with additional information, then it is only pseudonymized. If there is no chance of recreating the original data from the transformed data even with the addition of more information, then the data counts as anonymized under GDPR.

At TelemetryDeck, we even go a step further: the "identification date" is no longer available; "re-identification" is thus ruled out and cannot be performed. Therefore, anonymized data is not personal data anymore.

Diversify and support small players

Google is a big player in the market, not only with its analytics tools. But being this prominent and influential comes with a cost that most app developers and their users must pay. Google can decide how its Analytics for Firebase should work, what features it gets, and how it processes the data flowing through it.
This leads to the point we are at now: app providers must display that they comply with privacy policies, even though they might not even process such data themselves. That is because Google Firebase Analytics is inherently invasive by itself.

Small players like TelemetryDeck already start with the premise to be less invasive and an alternative to what Google provides. We built and nourished TelemetryDeck to be privacy-friendly, but still provide app developers with the tools to improve their apps and grow their user base. And just like you, we are not done yet!

Why isn’t TelemetryDeck free while Google Firebase Analytics is free?

TelemetryDeck is not entirely free because it is free from collecting data. We do not sell any data to advertisers or third parties in general. Despite that, did you know that you can use TelemetryDeck for free for small apps, too? We offer this regardless of the size of your user base. This is because everyone gets 100,000 signals per month free, forever! Check our pricing page for more information.

At Google, you do not get their applications and services for free. It is never free – because users pay them with their data. We know, this sentence has been said times over and over again – but it is true!

Why is TelemetryDeck a great Google Firebase Analytics alternative?

TelemetryDeck is a privacy-friendly analytics tool, making it the perfect alternative to Google Firebase Analytics.

TelemetryDeck focuses on analytics that are easy to implement and respect user data. Our dashboard gives you an overview of the most important insights without compromising personal data. With custom insights and recommendations, you can deep-dive and find out how to make your app even better. Complying with GDPR, DPA and other privacy laws is the core of our work, giving you the stress-free time to develop your app.

Ready to try TelemetryDeck? Get 100,000 Signals for free!