Google may make Apple’s Swift as a ‘first class’ language for Android
According to the reports from The Next Web, Google is reportedly considering making Apple’s Swift programming language a “first class” language for Android ecosystem, while Facebook and Uber are looking to better incorporate the programming language in their services and operations. Sources say that representatives from Google, Facebook, and Uber had recently met in London to discuss Swift.
As The Next Web reports:
Google’s Android operating system currently supports Java as its first-class language, and sources say Swift is not meant to replace Java, at least initially. While the ongoing litigation with Oracle is likely cause for concern, sources say Google considers Swift to have a broader “upside” than Java.
As noted by The Next Web, switching over to Swift would be a long process for Google that could span multiple months or years. If Google were to support Swift for Android, it would need to create a runtime for the language. Additionally, its whole library would need to be made Swift ready. Some low level Android APIs are C++ which Swift can’t bridge to. They would have to be rewritten. Also, some higher level APIs in Java would need to be rewritten.
A change to support Swift for Android isn’t impossible, as Android support is integral, for the deep integration that Facebook and Uber want to adopt. So, it is not likely to be adopted in the near future.
However, Google is also reportedly considering another language, Kotlin, as a first-class language. But “Google’s current mindset is that Kotlin is a bit too slow when compiling.”
Swift was first announced by Apple in June 2014 and later expanded on it with Swift 2 in June 2015. In December last year, the programming language was made open source.